People in Oxfordshire are being asked to make donations of very specific items to help Afghan people currently being looked after in the county after their recent arrival in the UK.
As is the case throughout the country, Oxfordshire is playing host to several Afghan people in temporary accommodation as a prelude to them moving into more stable accommodation once the central government has allocated families and individuals to appropriate homes either locally or elsewhere.
The people of the county have been very generous in contributing an array of items that have been welcomed by those in temporary accommodation and those who initially arrived in the country at RAF Brize Norton before being transported elsewhere. Soft toys, sanitary items and clothing have proved very useful.
Earlier in September, the county council announced that it would work with district and city council partners and the charity Asylum Welcome to publish an Amazon wishlist should any further very specific items be needed in due course.
That list is being hosted by Asylum Welcome and has now been published and can be found at Amazon.co.uk. Items that are being requested include various items of clothing and shoes, sanitary products and headphones. The page will make clear when donations have been received to a level that means no more is required.
Asylum Welcome supports refugees and asylum seekers in Oxford and Oxfordshire. Volunteers, members, supporters and staff work to enable people who have arrived in the county to live with respect and dignity and give valuable advice and support as they adjust to life in their new country. The charity has been assisting local councils ever since Afghan people started arriving in the UK in August.
“Our Afghan guests are very gradually adjusting to their new circumstances, having left their home country in very traumatic circumstances. The items being requested on the Amazon wishlist we are hosting with support from Oxfordshire’s local councils are reflective of the fact that they are now beyond the very initial period after their arrival in the UK, although still obviously in their early days in a new country. We hope that people can help with the items listed.
“If we receive as overwhelming a response as we saw when the Afghan people first arrived in this country, then it may be that this appeal only lasts a short time. However, it may also be that the page is updated when we need new items as different needs arise.
“As has been said before by our local councils, we hope that people will understand when we say we don’t want to discuss the specific locations that they are in here in Oxfordshire, the numbers here or any other detailed aspect. We need to give them the time, space and privacy after what they’ve been through.”
—Asylum Welcome Chief Executive Mark Goldring
“Our partners at Asylum Welcome are experts at dealing with donations and working with new arrivals in the country, and we are grateful for their involvement. I would once again like to thank people for the way they have responded – it reflects the generous and kind-hearted nature of Oxfordshire people and reflects very well on this great county of ours.”
—Councillor Liz Leffman, the leader of Oxfordshire County Council
“Over the past few weeks, we have been working closely with our partners from across Oxfordshire to prepare for the arrival of refugees to Oxford and to ensure that we can do everything in our power to help them. We have been moved by the kindness and compassion of many Oxford residents who have come forward to offer their support to those in need.
“The items included on this wish list have been carefully identified by Asylum Welcome in order to ensure that Afghan refugees can get the exact items they need in order to restart their lives. If you are able to, I encourage you to get involved and donate. It may not be much for you, but to a refugee in need, it will mean everything.”
—Councillor Shaista Aziz, Cabinet Member for Inclusive Communities at Oxford City Council
“Asylum Welcome have great expertise in the field of supporting those arriving in the country and managing donations. We are all grateful for their involvement. People in Cherwell are incredibly generous, and I am sure that once again they will be keen to provide support in any way they can.”
—Councillor Barry Wood, Leader of Cherwell District Council
“As we welcome Afghan refugees to the county, we must continue to do what we can to enable them to settle into a new life here in South Oxfordshire. Working alongside our partners across the county in this co-ordinated response means that the generous donations made by our residents so far will go to those who need them most. I am pleased that we are able to continue supporting the refugees alongside Asylum Welcome and encourage those who can donate items to do so through the Amazon wishlist.”
—Councillor Sue Cooper, Leader of South Oxfordshire District Council
“Afghan refugees are arriving in the UK with virtually nothing, having left their country in devastating circumstances. I’d like to thank residents across the Vale, who have already been incredibly generous with donations and offers of help for the individuals and families who will settle here in Oxfordshire. The support they need will be ongoing for some time, though, and if anyone is able to help Asylum Welcome, this is a quick solution, and a good way to make sure that your donations go to those who really need them.”
—Councillor Emily Smith, Leader of Vale of White Horse District Council