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19th May, 2022

Redditch united in push to help Afghan refugees fleeing Taliban

REDDITCH is ready willing and able to help Afghan refugees as and when the need arises.

That’s the message from local community groups, activists from across the political spectrum and borough volunteers, including Bromsgrove and Redditch Welcomes Refugees.

Thousands of evacuees from Afghanistan have been welcomed by a number of organisations and volunteers on the tarmac at Birmingham Airport following the Taliban taking of Kabul on August 15.

On average the airport has received three flights a day with around 200 to 300 passengers on each flight.

Nicky Farnes of Redditch Ecumenical Centre, whose husband served in Afghanistan. said: “Redditch is amazing town and we want everyone in this town to welcome them because these Afghan refugees are amazing people.”

She said three days into her honeymoon 9/11 happened and with her husband in the Army Afghanistan had played a major role in their lives ever since.

“Can you imagine life under the Taliban? We have sent parcels, toys, books out there, they have a thirst for knowledge and they have been through so much,” she said.

“It is wonderful that groups from all sides in this town can come together and support these people who will bring their gifts and talents to us and who knows what they might achieve given the opportunity?”

Council Leader Matt Dormer said it was still too early to say just how many refugees Redditch might be asked to take, but the critical factor was finding accommodation for them and he appealed to private landlords to come forward and help.

“We all stand ready as a council and as a community so we can deliver the best possible help to these people who have done so much to help us as a nation,” he said.

Sharon Harvey of Redditch Labour Party said: “It’s great that everyone is coming together in a co-ordinated action because we need to work together and make sure we don’t duplicate things.”

Councillor Mike Rouse (Con, Church Hill), a trustee of the charity Support Redditch, said it was able to make a sum of £1,000 ready to meet the initial needs of the refugees.

“Across the wider community I know a lot of people want to help but at the moment we are still waiting for information and only then will we have an idea of what’s going to be needed,” he said.

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