Sturgeon willing to host refugee with Scots ready to 'open our hearts'

Nicola Sturgeon said she is willing to 'step up and do whatever I can'.

Nicola Sturgeon willing to host Ukrainian refugee as she says Scots ready to ‘open our hearts’ STV News

Nicola Sturgeon has indicated that she would be willing to host a Ukrainian refugee, as she pledged Scots will ‘open our doors and open our hearts’ amidst the humanitarian crisis.

The First Minister made the remarks ahead of announcing funding of £15m to help support Scotland’s response to the illegal invasion of Ukraine by Russia.

It is aimed at helping Ukrainian nationals arriving in Scotland, with around £11m set to be allocated to councils.

Just over £2m will be set aside for temporary accommodation, whilst £1.4m is being allocated to the Scottish Refugee Council.

Sturgeon provided an update on Ukrainian refugees at the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday.

Around 3000 refugees are expected to arrive in Scotland in the first phase of resettlement.

And the SNP leader indicated that they could arrive in Scotland “as early as this weekend”.

During a visit to the headquarters of the Scottish Refugee Council (SRC) in Glasgow, Sturgeon was asked whether she would take in a refugee from Ukraine.

The First Minister responded that she would “do that if that is necessary”, as she said that Scots will “open our doors and we will also open our hearts.”

But she indicated that a refugee from Ukraine may not want to live at her residence due to the scrutiny that it may bring.

She said: “In my case I am willing to do that if that is necessary and if that was thought appropriate.

“For somebody coming from Ukraine it may be that they wouldn’t want to come and live with the First Minister with all the scrutiny that might come with that.

“But certainly if that was something that was necessary and considered to be appropriate, I am certainly willing to step up and do whatever I can.”

Later addressing MSPs, Sturgeon set out the funding being made available as part of Scotland’s efforts to help those fleeing from Ukraine.

And she insisted that the country has an “obligation” to play its part in the global humanitarian effort.

“The duty of government is to ensure that the practical assistance we provide, matches the warmth and goodwill of people across the country,” she told Parliament.

“We have an obligation to play our full part in the global humanitarian effort, and offer sanctuary, security, and a home to thousands of people who desperately need it.

“Obviously, as a matter of priority, we are working to secure immediate temporary accommodation that is safe and comfortable for people, while longer term arrangements are put in place.

“In addition to harnessing voluntary support, we are assessing other longer-term housing options. This will include, where available, local authority and housing association properties, but also private sector or holiday accommodation.

“We have very recent experience of successfully integrating refugees into our communities, schools, and workplaces. And I am confident that we will provide not just refuge, but a warm welcome, and a helping hand, to people whose lives have been ripped apart.”

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