As we reflect on the toughest of years, you have helped us make a huge contribution to improving lives and giving new opportunities to some of the most vulnerable people in our society: asylum seekers, refugees and vulnerable migrants. I’m personally very proud of what our team of staff, volunteers and supporters have been able to achieve. Our Annual Review 2020-2021 captures how we managed to stay open, and to extend and improve our services, right through the year.
However, rather than reflect on last year’s challenges and achievements, it feels more important to highlight our most urgent current challenge: that of supporting people fleeing threat, violence and persecution in Afghanistan.
As well as being traumatic for everyone in and connected to the country, the Taliban takeover, and the fear and uncertainty that go with it, have immediate implications within the UK and locally.
Asylum Welcome is working with others including Oxfordshire-wide Councils (County and City), MPs, local Afghan leaders, refugee community organisations and other organisations to support those having to flee. It is important to commend the immediate government commitment and the support of councils that have so far pledged to take 20,000 Afghan refugees and fund their resettlement. This is a good start, but much more has to be done, and quickly.
Asylum Welcome is already doing all that it can to help with immediate needs and longer-term resettlement. Soon after you receive this note, we will be supporting up to a hundred people in a local hotel during what could be an extended transition period.
We will incur additional costs and require extra resources as we provide more support to the Afghan community and to the new arrivals.