Charity helping Afghan refugees relocate in Northumberland

A charity helping families fleeing from rife-stricken Afghanistan to relocate in Northumberland is appealing for donations to help continue its vital work.

Thursday, 16th September 2021, 2:26 pm
A Border Force worker processes refugees from Afghanistan last week. Northumberland is looking to welcome at least six families.

Following the desperate scramble of terrified Afghans to find safe haven, Northumberland County of Sanctuary (NCOS) is gearing itself to welcome up to ten families in the county.

So far three families have arrived and are beginning to settle in Blyth, thanks to the help of NCOS and its volunteers.

But the charity needs to raise cash to help them settle into emergency accommodation and the community in south east Northumberland.

NCOS already assists more than 300 asylum-seeking men, women and children from many countries who have faced life-threatening danger.

NCOS trustee and secretary Ben Hopkinson said: "The reasons they seek asylum encompass race, religion, nationality or political opinion.

"And very soon we will be helping Afghans who are placed here in Northumberland.

"These refugees will have endured fear, trauma, hardship and separation from their families and friends to get here.

"They will arrive with nothing but the clothes on their backs.

"The donations will be used by NCOS to make local refugees’ lives more bearable by supporting them with practical help from language skills, to children’s school shoes and to making sure they don’t go hungry."

Ben added that NCOS wanted to make the refugees feel welcome and to help them rebuild their lives.

"The donations will make a real difference,” he said:

"Our experience is that, as asylum seekers settle, they are eager to use their skills and contribute to the community that has taken them in.”

One-off donations can be made by BACS, cheque or cash. Regular donations may be made by standing order and both options can be gift aided.

Anyone who wants more information on how to make a donation and the bank details involved, contact Ben Hopkinson for cash and cheque donations and gift aid forms via [email protected] or call 01665 714213.

Speaking on the situation, Northumberland County Council leader Coun Glen Sanderson said: “I’ve made it quite clear that the county is open for, for those people that are suffering and have suffered enormously, and that remains our position.

“We are currently looking at three different schemes that will allow us to take in Afghan refugees.”