Merton Council is giving £15,000 to aid local groups working to support the resettlement of Afghan refugees forced to flee the country in the face of the Taliban takeover.
The donation, which is to be distributed through Merton Connected, will complement other local efforts as part of a borough-wide charitable fund to support local organisations which are working with people arriving in the region after being evacuated from Kabul.
The Merton Giving Refugee and Migrant Appeal will distribute funds to local charities working with refugees and migrants who have made their home in Merton, including Afghan refugees – including Afghan and Central Asian Association and the Salvation Army.
The Council’s initiative follows the Government launch of the Afghanistan Citizens’ Resettlement Scheme, which aims to welcome up to 20,000 refugees over the next few years, with around 5,000 of the most vulnerable – including women and young girls – prioritised to arrive over the next 12 months.
This consolidates earlier initiatives focused on helping Afghan nationals who worked alongside the British in the country and who are assessed to be under serious threat to life because of this service.
The Council has been inundated with offers of support, including clothing, food and rooms. However, it is already using existing community partnerships such as housing partners and charities for this, so is asking residents instead to donate to organisations working directly with refugees and in Afghanistan.
Charities on the ground in Afghanistan providing humanitarian aid include the International Rescue Committee, which aims to raise $10 million, and the British Red Cross, which is delivering medical supplies and providing shelter, food and water.
Council Leader Mark Allison said: “I’m pleased to announce the council’s £15,000 donation via Merton Connected, helping launch a fund that allows our residents to donate to help Afghan refugees.
“We’ve had many enquiries from residents who’ve been shocked by the unfolding scenes and are asking how they can help locally, and this fund will allow the borough to co-ordinate donations through the right local groups to support people who, through no fault of their own, now find themselves homeless and stateless.
“We would urge those who would like to help to help to direct donations to Merton Giving – we are arranging other, specific support through local charities & community groups.
“We are continuing to hold discussions with voluntary sector partners, housing providers, Government colleagues and relevant agencies to deliver the next steps of localised support.
“We also send our solidarity and support to all those affected, including Afghan and refugee communities already here in the borough, and are working hard with local partners and charities, other councils and the Greater London Authority, to coordinate the community’s efforts.”
For any media enquiries, call Matt Burrows, Head of Communications, on 07825 431763