A contingent from Tatamagouche made their way to the arrivals at the Halifax airport to welcome a refugee family sponsored through the North Shore Refugee Settlement Group. Submitted photo

A new family is now calling Tatamagouche home after years of planning by a group of local residents.

Ron MacNutt, with the North Shore Refugee Settlement Group, said the family of five was welcomed at the airport outside Halifax at the beginning of the month.

“Everyone is excited,” said MacNutt, weeks before the family was expected to arrive. “Hopefully they’ll be welcomed into the community and integrated quickly.”

The group began working on bringing a family to the area back in 2015 when the federal government announced a program to support refugee sponsorships. Anyone or group sponsoring a family through that program had to make sure they could support the family for one year.

“Very quickly we were able to gather monetary donations and furnishings. In fact, we had too much, but there are lots of not-for-profits around that could use those donations so we encouraged people to make those donations.”

Where they were lacking, however, was finding translators to help when the family arrived.

“We didn’t know the extent of their English. That’s one area where we were the weakest,” said MacNutt.

The family, having spent years in Turkey, includes three elementary school-aged children, and Tatamagouche Regional Academy was notified before the family’s arrival. The school was prepared to register the children when they arrived, and the group got school supplies together.

Their first medical appointments were already books, and rental accommodations had been at the ready for quite some time.

“The house next to the one we’re renting has children around the same age, so we’re hoping they’ll have some friends when they arrive,” MacNutt said.

“We’ve seen some quite good success stories in Nova Scotia with newcomers, especially the family in Antigonish. In our wildest dreams we would be able to duplicate that here. We hope they’ll find the safety and security they’re looking for in their new home.”