New data released by the Home Office has revealed the number of refugees and asylum seekers currently living in Southampton.

Some 275 Ukrainian refugees have relocated to the city as part of the government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme.

A further 113 refugees have moved to Southampton as part of the Afghan Resettlement Programme - and an additional 341 asylum seekers are also housed in the city.

Paul Woodman is founder of the Clear Project – a charity that has supported refugees and asylum seekers in Southampton for more than 20 years.

He told the Echo: “People from dozens of nations are being helped by our project with the highest number of people coming from Afghanistan and Ukraine.

“I am very proud of Southampton, a recognised city of sanctuary, helping people arriving in the city from war-torn countries.

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“We have a well-coordinated response from the recently formed Southampton Sanctuary Network, including representatives from our schools, universities, libraries and local charities to help people feel welcomed and supported as they arrive.” 

Southampton Itchen MP, Royston Smith, added: “The UK has a proud history of assisting and supporting refugees, and the numbers now living their lives here demonstrates that.

“The Homes for Ukraine and the Afghan Resettlement Programme have been very successful helping many refugees relocate from war torn countries.”                        

The Conservative MP of nine years – who last year announced he would step down from his role at the next general election – also admitted that he had concerns over relocating hundreds of asylum seekers to Southampton.

He said: “The UK has a statutory obligation to house asylum seekers.

“From the beginning though, I have expressed my concerns over relocating hundreds of asylum seekers to Southampton and how this will impact resources when many people are already facing difficulties accessing medical appointments and housing.”

A spokesperson for Southampton City Council added: “Southampton prides itself on being a city of sanctuary.

“Where refugees arrive in Southampton via an approved resettlement scheme – such as Homes for Ukraine or Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy – we help to identify appropriate accommodation and work with partner organisations to provide support.”