The number of Syrian refugees set to seek sanctuary in Milton Keynes has increased fivefold – in just two months.
In September, the council announced it would accept up to 20 refugees – five families.
But this week, campaign group Refugees Welcome revealed that at least 80 Syrians will be housed in the city.
It follows a robust campaign which called on estate agents and landlords to let their properties out to refugees at an “affordable rate”.
The group boasted of an impressive turnout to a public meeting last Wednesday when the figure was announced by a council spokesman.
Despite having backing from supporters, Anna Klis-Davies said the Refugees Welcome campaign has received racist comments.
She said: “It is really depressing to read them, but most are from people who often repeat what they have been told or seen in media”
“I have always been surrounded by passionate people who want to help other and this is the case for the “Refugees Welcome” campaign in Milton Keynes, however personally, after moving from London to Milton Keynes over a year ago, I have noticed more ignorant or negative attitudes towards the issues such as the refugee crisis.”
The group now wants to challenge the negative perceptions of the campaign and the refugee crisis among some of Milton Keynes citizens” to bring about a positive message of the campaign: coming together to help others. They hope to encourage more people to join their campaign by donating clothes and food to refugees – or even offering a room in their home.
They will also be seeking private tutors or school teachers to help refugees learn English.
Carmel Schmid, chairman of Refugees Welcome, said: “For me the meeting felt like an overwhelming wave of enthusiasm.
“What is being achieved now is tremendous. A big thank you to all who participated and offered service for our directory.”
To offer your help, email firstname.lastname@example.org to register interest in providing accommodation for refugees.