Community donates £65k as Buckinghamshire welcomes first family of Afghan refugees
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Buckinghamshire has welcomed its first family of Afghan refugees, with members of the community already donating £65,000 to a support fund.
A further 29 Afghan families are expected to arrive in Bucks within the next few years.
Recent events in Afghanistan have put at risk the lives of many people who supported British troops as interpreters or in similar roles.
Many Afghan nationals have managed to leave the country, with some now seeking to rebuild their lives in the UK.
Buckinghamshire Council has pledged to take in up to 30 families who worked with UK forces in Afghanistan.
The first family to arrive in Bucks is now receiving help to integrate into society and build a new life - ensuring they do not feel alone and isolated, receiving help with medical needs, arranging English lessons if required, finding jobs and getting children into education.
Part of the arrival package includes donated furniture, a welcome pack and access to local support networks to help them settle in.
Bucks Council leader, Martin Tett said: “The families are arriving as part of the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP), which was put in place to help resettle those who were at risk from the Taliban because of their work with UK forces in Afghanistan.
"Since the first ARAP flight on June 22, around 7,000 Afghans and their family members have been relocated to the UK.
"This is in addition to the government’s national commitment to welcome around 5,000 of the most vulnerable Afghan families in the first year of the separate Afghan Citizen Resettlement Scheme (ACRS) and up to 20,000 over the coming years.
"Our local community have been frankly amazing - landlords across the county have responded to the call for much-needed homes, huge offers of support have come in from communities and considerable amounts of money have been donated to the Afghan Crisis Fund, hosted by Heart of Bucks, which currently stands at £65,000."
Mr Tett added: "At the same time as welcoming the new families to our area, I would like to reassure our residents that, when finding suitable places for the families, we are ensuring that they are able to settle in easily whilst at the same time being cautious and not placing any additional pressures on local services such as schools and GPs.”
Anyone wanting to support refugees locally can donate to the Buckinghamshire Afghan Crisis Fund.
Alternatively, you can register to offer your skills or support to Afghan nationals in your area here.