Hundreds of men, women and children fleeing the murderous Taliban regime in Afghanistan have been brought to Yorkshire this winter, with more than 20,000 people from the war torn country expected to settle into the UK after fleeing the country earlier this year.
There are a number of ways you can get involved and show your support.
Migration Yorkshire has issued details on how people can offer help and support to Afghan people living in their area.
A spokesman said: “Community support will be appreciated in the coming weeks and months.
“Local community groups, organisations and councils are working swiftly to plan support for people arriving here from Afghanistan, alongside their ongoing support for all people seeking protection.
"At Migration Yorkshire, we’re working with partners and communities to provide information on how people might help.”
Here are some of the ways you can help:
If you want to find out about schemes and helplines to assist British nationals and others in Afghanistan, check out this UK government web page: Afghanistan 2021: Key resources for UK nationals and Afghans
If you have access to one or more whole houses or apartments that could be used for housing newcomers, you can either register your property on the new government Afghanistan housing portal, or, if you prefer, and the property you’re offering is in Yorkshire and Humber, you can email Migration Yorkshire the offer will be shared with the relevant local authority staff.
If you live in Yorkshire and the Humber, have a spare room and may be in position to foster an unaccompanied young person, please contact Welcoming Young Refugees for more information.
If you have a spare room and may be able to offer crisis support to asylum seekers or refugees, you can find out more and register your interest through the No Accommodation Network
Becoming a community sponsor
If you're interested in working with members of your community as 'community sponsors', to support a person to come to the UK, you can find out more HERE
Donating smartphones or IT equipment
Solidaritech are asking for donations of tech including smartphones, tablets and laptops, that they can wipe and pass on to asylum seekers and refugees to support health, safety and connection. Solidaritech is a Community Interest Company reliant on donations from both individuals and companies of all sizes.
Organisations offering their expertise
Calling on potential partners: if you're an organisation with particular expertise you could offer, but you're not currently part of the network of organisations coordinating the response, please get in touch at [email protected]
Financial donations help charities provide support for refugees and asylum seekers; they're especially needed to help people respond quickly and effectively to unpredictable emergency situations. If you can donate money, please donate to organisations or community groups that demonstrate an in-depth understanding of community needs, safe and legal working practices, and systems of accountability.
If you want to donate clothing and shoes for men, contact the Refugee Council team
Other things you can do to help locally
Support local groups and organisations
Find and follow official communication channels of established groups and organisations, so you can respond to requests for support. Respond promptly, and following the instructions of the group/organisation, when they say what the needs are. If you can’t help with the request yourself, maybe you could like or share a post, to help it reach someone who can.
Hold on to resources and time that may be useful in the coming weeks, and be understanding if you do not get a quick reply to your offer of help. Organisations are having to triage emails at the moment; they'll get back to you when they can.
Learn something new
There's a lot you can do to prepare yourself to safely support newcomers and existing communities in the region. For example, you could find out about how to talk about this situation in a helpful way on social media, or learn a few words in Dari, Pashto, or Farsi. You may want to learn about Afghan culture and history, so you can help a new neighbour feel at home; or find out about the UK government’s resettlement programmes for Afghans
Recognise that people from Afghan communities and in responding organisations may be exhausted. Try to find answers to common questions through other trustworthy sources, before asking people directly, unless direct questions are invited.
Apply to volunteer in local organisations, where roles are advertised.
Help people find accredited advisers
People’s situations are very complicated. Be aware that in order for refugees to achieve secure futures for themselves or their family, they should only accept advice from an adviser accredited by the OISC [Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner]. If you see people asking for help online – please direct them to the OISC's Adviser finder https://home.oisc.gov.uk/adviser_finder/finder.aspx
Support other communities
Support other communities, including other refugees and asylum seekers who've been through similar experiences of displacement, war and persecution; and other local groups helping to meet the basic needs of anyone in our communities.