A MALVERN charity is launching a new scheme to bring refugees from war-torn Syria to the town.

Malvern Welcomes has been promoting and organising the resettlement of refugees in Worcestershire for several years, but only recently has the group been granted charitable status.

And to mark the occasion, Malvern Welcomes held an open evening at the Cube, Albert Road North, on Thursday, November 9, at which the new initiative was announced.

The group will be making an application to the Home Office's Full Community Sponsorship programme to allow a refugee family to come to the town.

The programme has been developed to make it easier for members of the public to support refugees in the UK and allow local authorities to focus support on the goods and services that refugees need.

Sponsoring organisations must have status as either a registered charity or community interest company, the consent of the local authority in which they wish to operate, and a comprehensive plan for resettlement in order to apply for the scheme.

Until now, Malvern welcomes has assisted refugees to find new homes in Redditch, Kidderminster and Worcester.

Ruth Forecast, chairman of Malvern Welcomes, said: "We have been delighted that Worcestershire has welcomed refugees, but so far, there have been none in Malvern. We are determined to put this right.

"This scheme works well elsewhere, and people are urged to be generous and make the family welcome."

Communities that have already accepted families in the scheme include Bude in Devon, Fishguard in west Wales and Llandrindod Wells in mid-Wales.

Sue Wolfendale of the group said: "Houses in Malvern have been offered to us, by private landlords, not by local authorities, and that is an important step forward. We have to prove to the Home Office that we have the backing and ability to support the refugees."

As well as the resettlement scheme, Malvern Welcomes also operates Malvern Open Homes, which offers short-term respite for desperate asylum seekers., and is looking for host families.

Anyone who wants to help the group is urged to visit malvernwelcomes.org.