A NEW one-stop shop providing support for refugees is to be set up in Newport.

The centre, which will be run jointly by Newport City Council and Coleg Gwent and based in Newport Central Library, is part of a new Welsh Government scheme aiming to help people coming to Wales after fleeing their home countries integrate into the new homes.

It is one of four such centres, called REACH+, being set up across Wales - with the others in Cardiff, Swansea and Wrexham - through the ReStart: Refugee Integration project, and is being announced as part of Refugee Week. The £2 million project is being paid for through £1.5m from the UK Responsible Authority’s Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund, and £500,000 from the Welsh Government.


English for Speakers of Other Languages, or ESOL, courses will be based at the hubs, where a wider pool of advice and support with finding work and education will also be available through dedicated mentors.

The Welsh Government's deputy minister and chief whip Jane Hutt said: “Refugee Week is a powerful opportunity to show Wales is a nation of sanctuary for people seeking safety.

“ReStart will deliver an ambitious but integrated support programme for refugees who have made Wales their home.

“It’s extremely important we help people take up employment and education opportunities – this not only benefits people and their families but our wider society and economy.”

The introduction of the scheme of being led by Cardiff and Vale College, which first launched it in Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan in 2017.

MaryAnn Hale, head of REACH+ Wales, said: "Cardiff and Vale College are delighted to be leading on this valuable project.

“The impact in Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan, through REACH, is evident with the eradication of ESOL waiting lists and duplicate applications. Learners have benefited hugely from having a central assessment hub and database for ESOL provision which has supported progression and pathway opportunities.

“It is a privilege to be rolling this service out across Wales and to be offering more dedicated, specialist support to refugees with targeted support helping their integration into society."

Education minister Kirsty Williams also welcomed the launch of the new scheme.

“Someone’s ability to benefit from education should not be determined by their personal circumstances," she said. "Education is one of the biggest drivers of social integration and mobility and breaking down barriers for people to access further or higher education is one of my top priorities.

“These drop-in hubs will support access to the wide range of opportunities available – from language tuition to studying at university – which is vital when settling in a new country and making that place your home.”