Asylum Welcome is working with councils and other public bodies to support over a hundred and fifty recent Afghan arrivals during what could be an extended stay in transition hotels while they await long term housing. This could be anywhere in the U.K. and time frames are not yet clear.

The recent evacuees, who range from lone individuals through to large families, have all been through the horrors of the last few months in their home country. They mix a genuine relief at being here, with ongoing fear for those left behind and concern about what their own future looks like.

The most important thing we are doing first is making them feel welcome, supported and able to look forward with optimism. We have mobilised a large team of staff and volunteers, helping with induction, translation and activities. Practical help with accessing health care, education, English language and activity goes alongside making sure they have the basics they need to live here.

People have been amazingly generous with donations of clothing and other goods. Currently, we can only accept specific items ordered from the Amazon Wishlist we have created in conjunction with the County Council. We do need speakers of Pashto and Dari to offer their time to support the guests and will gradually be building links with local organisations and faith groups to accompany families and those with extra needs. We will also be appealing for specific goods and services as they are needed.

At present, what we need most is funds to allow us to offer transport to guests where needed, cover extra staffing, and help ensure that all families have got some access to phones and internet. Donations of tablets, laptops and phones to Asylum Welcome’s Laptop Project are very welcome. We have also created an Amazon Wishlist in conjunction with the County Council to fulfil specific hygiene and clothing needs.

We have also been receiving many generous offers from supporters offering a room or a house to host Afghan families. The council have asked that any landlords with spare accommodation in Oxfordshire contact this address as they are trying to locate housing for those in hotels You can read the Council’s pledge to support Afghan refugees here.

Thank you to everyone for your continued support – through the most challenging times last year, right through to the present time as we work our hardest to support these recent Afghan arrivals. We have launched a direct appeal for extra help at this time – if you are able to donate here, I can assure you that your funds will help provide much needed assistance at this most critical time.

Thank you so much for all that you and the community are doing to support these individuals and families and the many other refugees and asylum seekers in Oxfordshire.