FAMILIES in West Dunbartonshire are set to welcome 30 refugee children from as far a field as Afghanistan and Syria.

West Dunbartonshire Council will become just the second in Scotland to take such measures.

Councillors unanimously pledged to use their resources to find places in volunteer households for at least 30 unaccompanied child refugees over the next ten years.

Vulnerable youngsters from war-torn countries including Afghanistan, Eritrea, South Sudan and Syria, could now be welcomed into West Dunbartonshire.

Out of 32 local authorities in Scotland, only Dumfries and Galloway Council has a similar plan in place.

Councillors, as well as the local MSP, heaped praise on the scheme.

Gil Paterson, Clydebank’s MSP, told the Post: “What great timing, coming up to St Andrew’s Day, to hear that West Dunbartonshire Council have seized the initiative to take care of children in dire need.

“The local community has a great track record in welcoming refugees who find themselves in the worst of circumstances. I’m sure these children, who have lost everything will, in the future, bring joy to the community as well as a sense of pride and admiration.

“I commend this public-spirited action, which I’m sure will be an outstanding success.”

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Jonathan McColl, council leader, said: “We have a moral obligation to help those in need and these children, who find themselves refugees through no fault of their own, deserve the chance of a decent life.

“I’m very proud to live in Scotland, a country that cares so much not only for our own but for others, and as a council we will always play our part as part of the responsible global community of internationalist nations.”

Working with charity, Safe Passage International, the decision was taken at a council meeting on October 30, following a motion from Councillor Jim Bollan.

He said: “I’m delighted the council unanimously backed the motion to relocate three unattached refugee children each year for the next 10 years. This is a huge humanitarian issue and by supporting this programme it will give these 30 children a new start in a safe environment where they can hopefully reach their full potential.”

Beth Gardiner Smith, CEO of Safe Passage International, said: “We are delighted that West Dunbartonshire Council have pledged 30 spaces for children. As a charity that works with child refugees across Europe, we know that when safe and legal routes aren’t available, children are more likely to attempt dangerous journeys and put their hands in the lives of smugglers.

“Historically, Scotland has led the way with refugee resettlement. We are hoping that other councils will now follow suit.”

A spokeswoman for West Dunbartonshire Council said: “Following the decision by council to support the Our Turn initiative, officers are now developing plans to implement this commitment and will be working with our partners to take this forward.”