VOLUNTEERS from Gobowen, who helped welcome Syrian refugees into the area, have reflected on the past few months spent with the families.

The three refugee families who moved into the area were welcomed by volunteers, Angie Hankey and Carolyn Evans, as part of monthly Syrian Social events hosted by Gobowen Central library.

The first social event was held in June after the support worker for the families had approached the library to let them know that Syrian refugees had moved into the area. She then asked them whether there was something they could do to help to make them feel more at home.

Carolyn said that the get togethers were a good idea to help welcome them into the community.

"The sessions raised awareness in the community of our new Syrian refugee neighbours," she added.

"It must have been quite isolating to be placed in a rural area.

"The children spoke of their time in Syria, so it hit home to meet a Syrian family in person and hear about their direct experiences of conflict."

And Angie added: "It was nice for the mums to sit and chat together as they didn't speak English.

"Their children were able to help translate.

"I went to one of the family's houses once and the daughter, who's 16, spoke of their time in Damascus.

"She spoke of bombs and conflict so it was very eye-opening."

Olwen Davies, branch manager at the library, said that the refugees had been very appreciative of the sessions and their new communities.

"They never complained," said Olwen. "They were so pleased to be here and were determined to make the best of it.

"Feedback from the socials was very good. They were glad for the welcome and they were very keen to learn and be involved."

"They were always grateful for our help and support," added Carolyn.

"The families were able to make friends too."

Following the last Syrian Social on Tuesday, the library is hoping to host more in the new year.

"Going forward in the new year, we will continue with these groups as long as there is a need for them," said Olwen.

"Everyone is welcome to come along, we are a community hub."

And Carolyn added: "We will still be coming along to volunteer as long as they need us.

"They're very welcome here."

For more information on the Syrian Socials or to find out about upcoming events, contact gobowen.library@shropshire.gov.uk or 01691 656388.