ONLY two Afghan’ refugee families are heading for Dorset – one to the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole area, the other to rural Dorset.

More may follow, but have yet to be confirmed.

Dorset Council’s housing spokesman Cllr Graham Carr-Jones said despite extensive publicity and direct appeals to hundreds of landlords at the end of August only thirty offers were received – just one of which was “suitable and affordable.”

Dorset Council has limited its offer of help to those who worked for UK armed forces and has decided not to make any of its social rented housing available to refugees.

The first family is expected to arrive in the county this November.

“We are in a similar position to most local authorities in the South West. As a local comparison BCP Council have also secured one property to date,” he told Tuesday’s Dorset Cabinet meeting in response to a question from Portland councillor Paul Kimber.

Cllr Carr-Jones said the council was in on-going conversations with landlords, community and charity groups and others to seek further housing for Afghan refugees.

He told the meeting that 86 Syrian refugee families had been resettled in Dorset as a result of which had built up a good knowledge of the support needed for refugees and would put this to use, if the need arose.

Mr Carr-Jones said the council was actively supporting a Government backed scheme for community groups to sponsor refugee families and had approved two groups with a third in the early stages for Home Office approval.

“We have responded to over 200 queries and offers of help and support from people across Dorset and are keeping a record of all offers,” he said.