AN HISTORIC building could be used to house refugees from Syria.
St Helens Council has confirmed that it was approached by the Society of Jesus, who own Loyola (Rainhill) Hall with an offer to provide accommodation for refugees fleeing the conflict in Syria.
The Grade II listed building is currently being used as a hostel after it was closed as a Jesuit retreat last year.
St Helens Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport, Housing and Community Safety Councillor Richard McCauley said: “The council was approached by Loyola Hall with an offer to accommodate a limited number of refugees or asylum seekers from Syria.
“We have put them in touch with services company SERCO - the Home Office appointed organisation for acquiring housing for asylum seekers across Merseyside and the North of England.
“St Helens Council, like all local authorities across Merseyside and councils across the North West, is working with SERCO and its partners to meet its statutory duties.
“St Helens Council has agreed to work with SERCO and the Home Office to identify up to 30 homes to provide safety and shelter for people and families who are in desperate need - having fled their own countries to escape persecution and other horrific experiences.”
The treasurer of the Society of Jesus, brother Stephen Power, said that no agreement had been made.
He said: “I have talked to the council about whether they might be needing or interested in a place for resettling Syrian refugees.
“We are looking at whether it could be suitable, but those are the first steps. And then there are lots of other considerations beyond that.”