BARROW is again set to play its part in sheltering refugees after the council agreed to help Syrian families fleeing the war-torn country.

At a meeting of Barrow Borough Council’s housing management forum, councillors heard that in 2015 the authority agreed to provide accommodation for up to 10 refugees a year for four years.

To date, the council has provided accommodation for five families, in the authority's stock of two-bedroom properties.

Janice Sharp, the council’s assistant director for housing, said in a report: “Initially it had been envisaged the type of property needed would be family-sized houses, i.e. three and four-bedroomed.

"Having regard to the limited availability and demand for such property within the council’s own housing stock, it had been decided by the council that officers would work with the private sector to identify suitable property.

"However, from experience of the first refugees, it has become evident that a range of properties will be required.”

Cumbria County Council, which is leading the countywide Cumbria Resettlement Programme, has now requested that Barrow provides accommodation for four families, with up to four people per family, due to arrive between December 2019 and December 2020.

Ms Sharp also confirmed there would be no cost to Barrow Council: "The recommendation has no financial implications. 

"The framework in place across Cumbria will make resources available to cover rent loss whilst waiting for the arrival of the refugees and the cost of furniture, floor covering, etc."

Refugees will be appointed homes, so will not have to adhere to the council's choice-based housing system.