EAST Lothian’s response to Syrian refugees expected to arrive in the county next year has been labelled “astounding” by the group East Lothian Welcomes Refugees.

In a joint statement together with East Lothian Aid for Refugees, Re-Act East Lothian and Dunbar Helps Syrians, they praised the community for the support so far and called on people to continue doing what they could.

A spokesman said: “As the humanitarian crisis escalates, the need for support becomes increasingly urgent.

"The compassion shown by the community has been astounding and offers of help and donations have come from across East Lothian.”

East Lothian Council has already committed to resettling up to seven families per year over the next five years as part of the UK’s support and assistance to Syrian refugees. That decision was taken at a full council meeting which was held last month.

Currently, no decision has been taken on where the refugees – who are expected to arrive in Scotland in the New Year – will be resettled within East Lothian.

However, it is expected that families will be housed reasonably closely to each other to provide some mutual support during the difficult time.

Last month, Councillor Willie Innes, council leader, said: “The ongoing conflict in Syria has led to many millions of people being forced to flee their homes and seek re-settlement in other countries.

“Both the UK and Scottish Governments have progressed plans to re-settle refugees, with Scotland estimated to receive approximately 2,000 refugees in the next five years.

“A task force was set up by the Scottish Government to coordinate support across the country and, working closely with CoSLA (Convention of Scottish Local Authorities), East Lothian’s contribution has been assessed as being between five and seven families per year.

“East Lothian has a proud tradition of welcoming and supporting individuals and families who have had to flee conflict and seek refuge elsewhere.”

Previously, the county helped resettle Bosnian refugees in the early 1990s, as well as Kosovan refugees later in the decade.

Anyone interested in offering support can email hello@elwr.org.uk to request information sheets giving background details and listing the type of help needed.