PROUD councillors have praised the Wee County for “punching above its weight” when it comes to welcoming refugees fleeing the bloody war in Ukraine.

Elected representatives were united in highlighting the efforts of Clackmannanshire residents, communities and council staff as they received an update on the Ukraine Displaced Persons scheme and the local authority's role in supporting it.

The scheme builds on previous initiatives to resettle people displaced from Afghanistan and earlier Syria and as reported last week, up to 180 people fleeing the war in Ukraine are projected to arrive in Clackmannanshire, according to council estimates.

Documents tabled explained that 39 Ukrainian people have already settled in 19 sponsorship homes in the Wee County under Homes for Ukraine, one of three schemes offering a way into Scotland to escape the conflict.

Of the 39, 20 are children under the age of 18.

In the Wee County, 66 households have also expressed an interest as part of the Scottish Government led Super Sponsor Scheme.

Indicative costs and income for the scheme have also been summarised with an estimated total income of £1,946,700 from various sources and a total estimated expenditure of just over £1m.

Unallocated funds will be available to cover unforeseen expenditure.

Cllr Jane McTaggart, who proposed the paper, told the virtual Kilncraigs chamber: “Lynette Murray [housing support co-ordinator leading in the area] and housing support have been at the coalface, they've picked up the baton very-very quickly and enabled the wrap-around services to do their job.

“The people I've spoken to, Ukrainian families as well as the Syrian and Afghani families previously, have had nothing but praise for everything that's been done by the officers and support services in Clackmannanshire.

“And honestly, when I say we punched above our weight, I genuinely mean that. The residents in Clackmannanshire have embraced this phenomenally as have council staff and everybody that's involved.

“I am very proud to say that Clackmannanshire has not closed a door at all, every door has been open and every door has been open with generosity.”

Her statements were earlier echoed by Cllr Fiona Law, who seconded the paper.

She also highlighted the role of the third sector, such as volunteers at the Wimpy Park Community Group, Play Alloa, but also widely across the county.

Reflecting on the work of the group at the Wimpy Park, Cllr Kenny Earle added: “I was down there when they first had notice of the start of this disastrous situation.

“It was amazing the amount of people that were down at the Wimpy Park that day with baskets and messages, people just had to ask and it was there.

“The whole county has actually pulled together, I've never been so proud of the Wee County than I am now.”

Praising a “Wee County with a big heart” he also said that families arriving should receive help to process the trauma of war and having to flee their country.