Epsom and Ewell Borough Council (EEBC) have committed to helping up to five Afghan refugee families resettle in the borough.

The council announced their decision after an Extraordinary Council Meeting on Thursday, September 30, where it was agreed that EEBC would offer to participate in the government's Afghan Locally Employed Staff resettlement scheme.

According to last week's decision, the council will "assist up to five households under the scheme by making use of accommodation sourced through the Epsom and Ewell Refugee Network".

The council are now asking private landlords with vacant, or soon-to-be vacant, three or four-bedroom family homes for rent in the borough, to contact the Epsom and Ewell Refugee Network at epsomrefugeenetwork@gmail.com to help move the scheme on as quickly as possible.

"Our thoughts are with the Afghan people who have been forced to flee their homes and now face an uncertain future," Community and Wellbeing Committee Chair Cllr Alex Coley said.

"These Afghan families have put themselves at risk for the UK and now it’s the UK’s turn to help them resettle in our communities. We’re now looking for properties in which families can be housed and start to build a new life in Epsom and Ewell. We will not use properties intended for local families in housing need to rehouse refugees, which is why we are making this urgent appeal to private landlords. Afghan families are traditionally larger than those in England, which gives us some challenges within the borough in finding suitable properties," he added.

EEBC said that the required properties "need to be self-contained, in good condition, located within the borough and have good transport links".

In return EEBC are promising a package to landlords including rent in advance plus a deposit. The council said they would also provide "wrap round support to help the family resettle in the area", including the management of their tenancy and also support to help them find employment.