Aberdeen City Council is developing a cheese making course to help the city’s Syrian refugees further integrate into Scottish society.
The first group of arrivals from the war-torn country arrived in the Granite City in March last year, and since then the local authority has helped 67 Syrians settle into their new lives in the north-east of Scotland.
In addition to English lessons and employment workshops, the council has been working with various groups across the city to offer recreational activities to the refugees.
These projects include dance sessions for ladies and mums with young children, football matches for boys age nine and up, lessons in growing organic vegetables, and plans are also in place to run a cheese making course.
Councillor Alan Donnelly, vice convener of the finance, policy and resources committee said: “We have a vibrant Islamic community here, I have spoken to a couple of Syrians at the Eid celebrations about three or four months ago.
“These are families and children who are fleeing terror and war.
“What’s important here is that we integrate them into the community as quickly and safely as possible.
“To get a job you need to be a bit fluent in English, which is a big hurdle, but anything else they can take up is all good.
“Cooking skills, cultural skills, learning about our way of life, farming – it’s all positive stuff.
“And if it’s therapeutic on the side then it’s all well and good.”
Jenny Laing, the leader of Aberdeen City Council, said: “A series of workshops and activities are available to the 67 Syrian New Scots that have resettled in Aberdeen.
“The purpose of these activities is to provide participants with the necessary skills to integrate into society and adapt to a new culture.
“Aberdeen City Council works with local volunteers to provide English lessons to families.
“Language cafes are delivered monthly and we have weekly community-led English classes at Woodside Parish Church.
“We are also working with other partners to develop employability workshops.
“Our partners deliver recreational workshops that provide opportunities to practice English and build friendships and connections in and around the city.”