A BID to rehome a Syrian refugee family in Falmouth has been met with protest from one town councillor, who argued “we’ve got our own problems.”

When presented with the proposal by a local campaign group, councillor for Boslowick ward Steve Eva said: “It might sound unpopular, it might sound cruel, but we’ve got our own problems.

“I think there are other towns in Cornwall that could accommodate them.

“There’s a lot of families in Falmouth who already need a house.”

Falmouth Packet:

Syrian children at a refugee camp in northern Greece. Photo by Bea Shrewsbury from Falmouth and Penryn Welcome Refugee Families.

Jude Munden, from the Falmouth and Penryn Welcome Refugee Families group, responded to his comments by saying: “There aren’t limits to compassion, and compassion breeds compassion. I think it enriches the community.

“There are lots of towns who would say ‘we don’t want them here,’ and you start to get something like a nativity play.”

Falmouth Packet:

Bea Shrewsbury travelled to Greece in January to volunteer at the refugee camp with the group Refugee Support Europe. 

Jude also pointed out that they would start off by housing just one family, who would be thoroughly screened by the home office and given funding from the government’s foreign aid programme (rather than the local council) for five years, which would give them the chance to assimilate into the community.

Falmouth Packet:

A child in a refugee camp shop in Greece. The refugee camp has its own currency where every adult is given 250 'points' every week to spend on supplies of their choice. Photo taken by Bea Shrewsbury.

Some councillors were more positive about the plan, including Penwerris councillor Anna Gillett, who said: “I wholeheartedly support what they’re trying to do. As a mother who struggles to find housing, it’s not the people coming in who are causing problems, it’s the people from this town who are pricing people out. We should be proud of the fact that we’re a community that looks outwards and also welcomes people in.”

There are currently eight refugee families who have resettled in central Cornwall after being displaced by the Syrian conflict, although their exact locations have not been disclosed to ensure their safety.

The government has pledged to rehouse 20,000 Syrian refugees by 2020.