GENEROUS residents have raised £7,000 in just a week to help find a Maldon home for a family fleeing war-torn Syria.

The Maldon Refugee Response group was started to help collect cash to support a family from one of the refugee camps near the country’s border.

Set up in conjunction with Maldon Churches Together, donations have poured in to support the cause since the end of last month.

Last Wednesday, Maldon District Council voted to make a formal offer of accommodation to the Home Office.

In September 2015, the Government announced the UK would take in 20,000 Syrian refugees over five years.

Last year, the council pledged to support the refugees but said it could not rehome them in Maldon as there was no housing available.

However, after being contacted by a church group, meetings were held with council leader Miriam Lewis.

The next anticipated arrival of families to the east of England is later this summer.

A spokesman for the council said: “Maldon District Council is delighted to announce members agreed that a formal offer of accommodation could be made to the Home Office so that work can start on planning for the arrival of a refugee family in the summer.

“Although there is no further information available at this early stage in the process, being able to make the offer of accommodation which has kindly come forward, and which would not have been otherwise available, is clearly a great step forward.”

Geoffrey Vale, of Churches Together, said: “Within two days we had raised £2,000 then by the meeting — six days after we had notice — we were up to £7,000.

“For the time being the money is being held by the trust of the Methodist church and Churches Together as they are registered charities.

“Eventually the response group will become a charitable trust.

“It is now with the Home Office to decide — you have to imagine they are looking at particular families in a particular predicament in the Middle East.”

Mr Vale said the council had voted with “compassion” in making the decision.

People can now donate by cheque made payable to Maldon Methodist Church and sent to Maldon Methodist Church, High Street, Maldon, CM9 5BS.

Payments can be made online to Maldon Methodist Church using Sort code 40-31-35, Account number 31144375, quoting payment reference ‘Maldon Refugee Response Fund’.