BRADFORD has been named the third most welcoming city in the UK after resettling a total of 473 Syrian refugees in just over three years.

The city comes behind London which has resettled 875 refugees and Coventry, which has resettled 590.

Further afield in Yorkshire, Leeds came in at 9th with 315 and Sheffield with 273, research by Citizens UK has found.

The accolade comes as Bradford prepares to celebrate Refugee Week, which runs from June 15 to 23 with a series of events planned throughout the city.

Since the flagship government scheme launched in September 2015 a total of 15,977 refugees have been resettled in the UK. A further 281 refugees have been welcomed to the UK through local volunteer Community Sponsorship groups. The Government is on target to meet its commitment to resettle a total of 23,000 refugees by 2020.

Bishop of Bradford, the Right Reverend Toby Howarth, who is chairman of Bradford’s Stronger Communities Partnership, said Bradford was a welcoming place for all people.

He said: “I came to Bradford three years ago and the warmth of that welcome is still with me.

“This is a city of open hearts and open minds and those who arrive from Syria will be greeted in the same way. But they will also be asked what they can offer Bradford, how they will get involved?

“Syrian people I’ve met here are always keen to help and I’m sure they will contribute greatly to our community.”

Loubaba Mamluk, a leader with Citizens UK in Bristol, said: “Working together, communities, councils and the UK government have transformed the lives of thousands of refugees displaced by the war in Syria, and helped them to build new lives here. The UNHCR estimates that there are 1.2 million refugees who need to be resettled globally, so it is important that the UK plays its part and extends the welcome beyond 2020.”

Bradford Refugee Week, supported by Bradford Council, has a host of events organised including: Saturday, June 15, a family craft workshop from 2pm to 4pm at the National Science and Media Museum.

On Sunday, June 16. Grow your Own - tour of Horton Community Farm at 1.30pm, and on Monday, June 17 food and singing in Centenary Square from 12pm. Tuesday. June 18 Introduction to migration, 9.30am committee room 3, City Hall, and on Wednesday, June 19, City Park launch of Beacons Walk for Work at 9.30am.

On Friday, June 21 Beats of the Antonov is at the Delius Arts and Cultural Centre from 6pm.

There will be short films on the big screen in City Park and exhibitions at the City of Sanctuary.

Bradford Libraries is offering welcoming storytime and craft making activities for children and families and the Peace Museum is offering schools a 10 per cent discount on its ‘Everyone Comes From Somewhere’ workshops for KS2 pupils during Refugee Week..

Everyone is welcome at the Bradford Friendship Choir, Kala Sangam Centre on Tuesdays from 6pm and 7.30pm.