A NEW post has been created at an Oxford refugee charity after staff revealed the number of people it supported last year topped 1,000 for the first time.

Asylum Welcome is on the hunt for an Advice and Integration Officer to help new arrivals to Oxfordshire get on their feet.

Its Magdalen Road offices are rapidly becoming a social hub for the Sudanese community and staff say they are now watching the birth of Oxford's first Syrian community.

Director Kate Smart said: "We have been really busy and have had to re-think the way we do things to still provide a good service without people having to wait too long.

"More are coming to us for food and advice, our youth club has higher numbers, we see more detainees at Campsfield and more are on the waiting list for English lessons.

"If you look at what's happening in the Med it's extraordinary that we aren't busier than we are. The numbers here are relatively still very small."

In line with the unfolding refugee crisis the numbers seen by Asylum Welcome went from 737 in 2013/14 to 874 in 2014/15, with at least 1,000 recorded in 2015/16.

The charity is set to launch a research project in the coming months into the exact number of refugees in Oxfordshire, for which there are so far no statistics.

Oxford City Council has so far given homes to four Syrian families as past of the Government's resettlement programme, which Ms Smart said had "slowed" recently.

But she added: "We are definitely seeing a significant increase in the number of Syrians getting here by themselves, under their own steam.

"You really get a sense of a Syrian community growing and a new, young group, and we are watching it happen day by day.

"Quite a few young men come here independently and get refugee status, and their first thought is for their family.

"We have helped to get the wives and children over.

"It's a delight to see these lovely little children, who have just come from a camp, running around our offices. "One father told me 'My life can start again now'."

Almas Farzi, the charity's current co-ordinator of adult services, said he planned to develop an Iranian and Kurdish community hub at Asylum Welcome's offices.

He said: "The Sudanese community are using our office on Saturday evenings.

"We offered them our hub to get together and also use the office as a base.

"They have been meeting for two to three months and they are very happy with it with about 25 to 30 people each time."

At present Asylum Welcome only has two full-time staff.

The new recruit, working alongside Mr Farzi, would work with people settling into Oxford.

The post holder will work chiefly but not exclusively with families and help manage people both seeking asylum, and everyday life after being granted leave to remain.

For more information on the post visit asylum-welcome.org or to help with the upcoming study, email advocacy@asylum-welcome.org