FAMILIES from Afghanistan who have helped the UK Government are to be temporarily housed at Beachley Barracks as part of a Ministry of Defence (MOD) relocation scheme.
In a announcement made on Friday (November 10) via Forest of Dean District Council, an MOD statement said Afghans who worked for or with the UK Government and British Armed Forces in Afghanistan will be living in “transitional” accommodation at the barracks for around six weeks while their settled accommodation is made ready.
The relocations are being offered through the Government’s Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP).
The families are not asylum seekers and have a legal right to remain in the UK.
Forest of Dean District Council’s Armed Forces Champion and Councillor for Tidenham Nick Evans said he hopes the local community will join him in welcoming and supporting the families after a “long and disorienting journey” to settle here.
Cllr Evans posted on Facebook: “I’m pleased and proud that our area is once again stepping forward and helping people from overseas who have helped British Forces, in their hour of need.
“It seems very apt that this has been announced just ahead of Remembrance Weekend, where we all remember the sacrifices our armed forces and those who have served alongside them.
“I know that we will all be welcoming and supportive of the families after a long and disorienting journey, and welcome them to Beachley and Tidenham.
“I have already been speaking to the Barracks and other agencies around the County, to see what support the local community are able to provide our new visitors. When I find out more, I’ll be sure to share.”
The 1st Battalion, The Rifles has been based at Beachley Barracks since 2007.
The Battalion is currently on a two-year deployment to Cyprus and is due to return in 2025, before moving to a new base in Caerwent by 2030.
Forest of Dean District Council announced news of Beachley’s involvement in ARAP in a Facebook post last week.
The post said: “Some residents may have heard about families staying for a short period of time at the Beachley Barracks.
“We just want to share the statement below from the Ministry of Defence on the scheme so residents understand what is happening”
The statement reads: “The Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) is a resettlement scheme for those brave Afghans who worked for, or with, the UK Government and British Armed Forces in Afghanistan in exposed or meaningful roles.
It may include an offer of relocation to the UK for those deemed eligible by the Ministry of Defence and who are deemed suitable for relocation by the Home Office.
“Afghan citizens who are eligible for relocation to the UK under ARAP may relocate with a partner, dependent children and additional family members who are deemed eligible by the Ministry of Defence, and suitable for relocation by the Home Office.
“To support the relocation of individuals eligible for ARAP and their families and ensure that people can move to the UK at pace and begin their new lives here, the MOD is providing both settled and transitional accommodation for families.
“Transitional accommodation is an important part of the relocation and resettlement journey for these Afghan families before they then move to their settled accommodation and begin to rebuild their lives in the UK.
“Families will be staying in the Beachley Barracks area for periods of around six weeks, as their settled accommodation is made ready and before they move onto it.
“The MOD will provide a holistic package of care for families.
“These people are not asylum seekers and have a legal right to remain in the UK.
“ARAP is not an open resettlement scheme and is designed to support those who stood alongside us during military operations in their country."