How members of the public can help Afghan refugees who have resettled in Northamptonshire

The council has released a list of specific items that are needed

Wednesday, 8th September 2021, 9:30 am
Refugees arriving at Heathrow Airport. (File picture).

As more refugees are welcomed to Northamptonshire, more and more members of the public are keen to help.

Two county hotels are now closed to the public after opening their doors to a combined total of up to 320 refugees from Afghanistan.

Since refugees started to arrive last week, members of the public have contacted this newspaper and West Northamptonshire Council to offer donations or other support.

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Voluntary Action Northamptonshire has set up an online fundraiser aiming to raise £15,000, which is one way people can help. More than £5,000 has already been raised. Donate here.

The council, which has received more than 250 individual offers of support, has also now released a list of specific items needed.

The list of specific items requires is below:

• Suitcases/holdalls

• New beard trimmers

• New nail clippers

• Children’s modelling clay

• Dolls

• Construction toys and cars

• Building blocks

• Jigsaws (more than 500 pieces)

Councillor Jonathan Nunn, West Northamptonshire Council Leader, said: “We’re always astounded by people’s generosity and their willingness to help others.

“One of the first questions we had from people when we first revealed that we would be supporting the Afghan citizen resettlement was ‘how can we help?

“The most effective thing anyone can do is make a donation through the fundraising page and this will be used to ensure we can direct precisely the right help where it’s needed.

“But there are other ways people can support and we’ve set up a page on our website which will help us gather a sense of what support is on offer and how we can coordinate it.

“I know everyone feels an urge to rally round in times of need and collect items to donate, but I would urge people not to do so as we just don’t have the means to sort through it all, and the Government support provided is already taking care of most basic needs.

“Can I just add my heartfelt thanks to everyone for their support for our efforts to help people going through the kind of trauma few of us can imagine.”

Offers of support received so far include accommodation, furniture, clothing, baby equipment and toys, interpretation, tutoring and mentoring, family trips and youth activities.

The council says it is working through these offers and is contacting people as quickly as possible where offers might be able to meet specific needs.

Pledges of any of the above items can be made through the form on the council’s website.