FOUR more Syrian refugee families will be welcomed to the Wee County each year until 2025, if Clacks Council agrees to continue participating in a UK Government resettlement scheme.

The local authority, along with partner organisations, has already re-homed 24 families under the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme.

A number of those who fled the devastating conflict in Syria are in employment and indeed, three businesses have also been launched in Alloa by refugees, including a barbers and restaurant on the High Street as well as a patisserie at Maple Court.

The government has announced it is extending the scheme and elected members will tomorrow, Thursday October 24, be asked to agree to further participation.

Local authorities are contracted by the Home Office to provide furnished accommodation, personal support and English classes in return for funding.

Council documents state the money provided is sufficient to meet the costs, meaning the Wee County authority does not need to dig into its own pockets.

Papers, to be tabled tomorrow, said: "Settlement of the families in Clackmannanshire has caused minimal issues and there has been no identified reaction from the community.

"The families are settling well into the community and making good progress with their English.

"We have a number of individuals in employment and have had three new businesses opening with another one planned."

Indeed, the work carried out locally has earned plaudits on the national stage when the council's Education Refugee Team scooped an award from the Scottish Government.

The local delivery model of the scheme has been identified as one of good practice by COSLA and the government and Wee County staff have been sharing their experiences, including with delegates from Sweden, Italy and Cyprus.

Council papers concluded: "The resettlement of families into Clackmannanshire has been a success story.

"The families are, on the whole, happy and well-integrated, and our funders and Scottish Government are impressed by our approach.

"We have been able to distribute funds to partners and have developed robust skills in working with this client group."