How to Help Afghan Refugees

The UK Government’s Afghan Locally Employed Staff (LES) Relocation Scheme will see families settling in our local area in coming weeks. This scheme has been put in place to protect the human rights of Afghan Locally Employed Staff who have supported British Forces deployed in Afghanistan and are now at risk since the Taliban has taken over the country.

If you would like help here are ways to do so:

Local Support for Refugees

West Berkshire

West Berkshire Council welcomes three families to the district and in the meantime many more are in bridging accomodation in West Berkshire hotels before moving to their final destinations. Well done to the retailers in Newbury who have made donations to the refugees.

How to help:

West Berks Action for Refugees

West Berks Action for Refugees (WBAR) is a grassroots organisation formed in 2015 to facilitate local support of the Syrian refugee crisis and they will now be providing longterm support for Afghan families settling in the district. Listen here (from 31 min) to Waheeda Soomro and Claire McCorquodale from WBAR explain the work they do.

They have a number of volunteering roles with their existing group supporting refugees already settled in West Berkshire which meets on Thursday mornings during term time:

  • Business mentors with experience of running a small business (particularly in the areas of DIY, carpentry, garden design and cooking), the requirements of running a small business in the UK and how to price and specify work. This is expected to be a commitment of one to two hours a week.  Or the offer of work experience in a practical trade.
  • Playing table tennis and discussion with the men’s English conversation group.
  • Driving practice for those looking to pass their UK driving test (times to suit)

They would also like support for a men’s exercise class at the Riverside Centre in Newbury on Thursday afternoons.

They welcome volunteers, especially with safeguarding, financial or admin support experience to join our small, friendly committee. Volunteers will be screened and DBS checked and references may be required. Support and training is available. Please click here to register your willingness to help, email westberksrefugees@gmail.com or send a private message to facebook/westberksrefugees.

Educafe

The weekly Educafe community café in Newbury on Wednesdays 11am-3pm at The Globe’s indoor garden (opposite St Nic’s Church), is looking for volunteers to support their English conversation classes.  Please register your interest here. Other roles may be available as the group expands.

Educafe would also like to provide the older Afghan refugee children (11+) with some activities to keep them busy.  We are looking for donations of things like: Loom bands, Arts and crafts kits, mask making, kite making, colouring, basket making.
If you have any unwanted gifts or suitable items for young people, please could you bring them along to the cafe on Wednesday or email info@educafeuk.co.uk so that we can pass them to the refugee families.  Any donations need to be complete and in good condition.

Oxfordshire Afghan Aid (OAA)

Councillor Sally Povolotsky (for the Hendreds) has set up facebook.com/OxfordshireAfghanAid for immediate help, advice and relief for the current Afghanistan crisis – within Oxfordshire and beyond. Please check the facebook page for latest appeals.

Swindon

The Harbour Project welcomes refugees and supports the homeless.

Swindon City of Sanctuary seeks to build a culture of welcome, inclusion and support for everyone in Swindon, with a focus on those seeking sanctuary.

Reading Refugee Support Group

Reading Refugee Support Group supports refugees once they arrive in Berkshire. Donations are welcome here. They are looking for volunteers to support both current refugees and new arrivals in Reading Volunteer With Us – Reading Refugee Support GroupReading Refugee Support Group (rrsg.org.uk)

Support National & International Charities:

The UN Refugee Agency UNHCR’s Afghanistan Appeal to help reach families on the ground and protect civilians in desperate need. 

AfghanAid delivers emergency food to families in Afghanistan.

British Red Cross Afghanistan Crisis Appeal

Community First in Hampshire collect donations (with a collection point in Winchester) : Donating to help Afghan Evacuees – Community First (cfirst.org.uk) Please check with them for details of goods wanted and times etc.

Care4Calais have a list of goods they are looking for here: Priority-Items.pdf (care4calais.org) and the drop off points are here: Aid Donation Drop Off Map | Refugee Aid Donations | Care4Calais. They are also looking for volunteers to sort donations and provide friendship and support to refugees (which can be done online).  If you can volunteer then please email annie@care4calais.org or contact the local drop off points at Marlborough or East Ilsley.

Refugees at Home have had a fantastic number of offers of accommodation for refugees arriving in the UK. They are now looking for volunteers to assess homes so they are particularly interested in hearing from social workers, community practitioners (district nurses) and GPs Volunteer – Refugees At Home

The Afghan and Central Asia Association in West London has become a hub of information and support for Afghans settled in the UK to find out news of friends and family.  They have a crowdfunding appeal at URGENT ASSISTANCE FOR AFGHAN REFUGEES – a Charities crowdfunding project in Feltham by Emma Pearce (crowdfunder.co.uk)

 

Lobbying government

Refugee charities are asking the public to write to the Home Secretary and their local MP calling for refugee support including immediate asylum for Afghans waiting for status in the UK, and expansion of the family reunion route so Afghan families can be reunited. See more details here.

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