Businesses and charities ramp up support for Afghan families relocating to Portsmouth and Hampshire

HELP for families fleeing the Taliban is being ramped up.

Friday, 3rd September 2021, 4:22 pm
Updated Friday, 3rd September 2021, 4:55 pm

Figures obtained via Portsmouth City Council show more than half a dozen families have already settled in the area.

As families - many of whom supported UK troops as guides and translators - get to know their new surroundings, businesses and kind-hearted locals are also doing their bit to help.

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Afghans have been fleeing the country in their thousands after the Taliban took control. Picture: AFP via Getty Images

Nathan Alexander, who owns the Robins Nest Emporium stores in Fareham, Shirley and Southampton, is collecting clothing, sealed nappies and toiletries and old mobile phones for the Afghan families.

He said: 'The most important thing we can do for these people is be kind, and help out where we can.

'We've been doing this in all our stores and there's been quite a lot of donations made already, which is great.

'All of us need to remember that they are people just like us, and they're in the most horrible situation imaginable.'

Manager Kate Berwick added that mobile phones will be a 'lifeline' for these incoming families.

She said: 'We have been overwhelmed by the generosity shown by individuals and organisations.

'We had a local knitting circle donate so many clothes, which was great.

'The big thing we're asking for now are old mobile phones, as they will allow these families to get back in touch with friends and family.'

Community First, a Hampshire charity that supports communities and individuals, is also working alongside the county council to support incoming families.

Donations can be dropped off at community centres and other venues listed on the Community First website.

In Portsmouth, seven families have already been housed, and more are on their way.

City council leader, Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, explained that families waiting for housing are not missing out as a result of the resettlement.

'Portsmouth City Council has been one of a number of councils working with the Home Office to support the resettlement of Afghan families who worked with British armed forces, including translators.

'The scheme uses vacant MoD properties in the city with the council providing the support the families need to settle, and the scheme is fully funded by the government.

'Seven families have been welcomed into the city and a further two families are expected over the next few weeks.

'We will continue to work with the government as a wider response is developed to the new resettlement scheme.'

The News asked the council for an update, including how many families have already arrived, but received no response.