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How can you help the Afghan refugees who have arrived in the UK?

Written by on 01/09/2021

Afghans who were evacuated to the UK have received a warm welcome from Britons, who have rallied to gather donations and goods to help them.

Out of more than 15,000 people who were evacuated from Afghanistan to the UK, about 8,000 are eligible for the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy.

This allows Afghans who worked for the UK’s military and government to make their move permanent, while others will arrive as part of the new Afghan Citizens’ Resettlement Scheme.

Sky News takes a look at how you can help.

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How should people donate goods?

Check your local authority’s website to see which charities they recommend donating to.

This varies depending on where you live, and it is best to check so that you do not end up donating items to organisations that cannot take them.

In Greater Manchester, for example, the county council said the key voluntary organisations managing donations are Care4Calais and Caritas Salford.

Charities are working with local officials to make sure the items get to the refugees.

Care4Calais has a map which shows drop-off points for donations across the UK, allowing the public to pinpoint the nearest and most convenient places to take vital supplies.

The government is developing an online portal to help facilitate donations.

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What items do the refugees need most?

Be sure to check your local charity’s website before you donate items, as they may need some things more than others.

Many arrived in the UK with just the clothes on their backs, so second-hand clothing and shoes in good condition are usually welcome, especially coats given Britain’s colder climate.

Socks, baby items, unlocked phones and new underwear are good options, according to Care4Calais.

Many children could benefit from toys to make their stays in hotels more enjoyable – but these are less of a priority.

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Donations for refugees flood in across the UK

Can you offer your spare room or second home?

You can offer an empty home by filling out the government’s online form here.

Refugees arriving in the UK are first required to stay in quarantine hotels for 10 days because Afghanistan is a red list country. They are then moved to hotels until more permanent homes can be found.

Only one in three local authorities have come forward to provide housing for the refugees so far, according to the Refugee Council.

The charity said members of the public can write to their MPs and councillors to urge them to provide more accommodation.

While a spare room would not be practical for these refugees, you can help others by registering your space with Refugees at Home and Rooms for Refugees.

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Where should you donate money?

It is a good idea to choose either a large, well-known charity or a smaller one endorsed by your local authority.

Care4Calais, for example, needs money for new underwear and socks, and for the cost of hiring storage units and van transport.

The Refugee Council has an appeal to help Afghans resettling in the UK, which has raised more than £130,000 so far.

One of the largest fundraisers is being run by the British Red Cross and has surpassed £1.6m in donations to help both refugees in Afghanistan and those resettling in the UK.

AfghanAid, Save the Children, and UNICEF have also made emergency appeals to help people still in the country.

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How do we get those left behind out?

Can you volunteer?

Look up which organisations in your local area are working with refugees and asylum seekers and offer to help.

Many advertise specific roles on their website, so there are many things you can do to help.

You could offer assistance with teaching English, befriending, and administration, which tend to be longer-term commitments.

You can also sort donations and drive vans for organisations like Care4Calais.

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