Syrian refugee turns life around with grocery business

Video report by ITV News Meridian's Tom Savvides

A refugee who fled Syria with his family because of the civil war has turned his life around and set up a business in Kent.

Ibrahim Awad came to England in 2015 with very little money and belongings.

After five years of living in the country, the father-of-three set up a grocery store in Ashford, selling food and ingredients used in the Middle East after spotting a gap in the market.

Credit: ITV News Meridian

Mr Awad says he was persecuted in Syria for refusing to take sides in the war. As a result, he fled to England.

He was one of almost 150 people allowed to come to Ashford under the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme.

It encourages refugees to learn English, seek work or volunteer and learn about the British way of life.

Credit: ITV News Meridian

The building, which is now Ibrahim's shop, had fallen into complete disrepair before he and his business partner took it over in September.

It has now been completely renovated and offers food, not just to the Syrian community, but also the locals.

In Syria, Ibrahim Awad was a stonemason by trade and he has used his skills and gained a few more to rebuild his life in the UK.