As a result of the UK Government’s Afghan Locally Employed Staff (LES) Relocation Scheme, many Afghan families are now living temporarily in our area awaiting their asylum claims to be heard. The scheme was put in place to protect the human rights of Afghan Locally Employed Staff who supported British Forces deployed in Afghanistan and were at risk since the Taliban took over the country.
The refugees have no support other than bed and board while awaiting asylum claims. If you would like help here are ways to do so:
Local Support for Refugees
West Berks Action for Refugees
West Berks Action for Refugees (WBAR) work closely with Reading Refugee Support Group and West Berkshire Social Services and organise volunteers for helping refugee families and individuals with the following:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or send a private message to facebook/westberksrefugees.
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.
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.
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 email@example.com 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)
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.