We welcome the announcement that Brighton & Hove City Council has offered to support the government`s resettlement programme for Afghan interpreters and locally employed staff – the Afghan Relocation and Assistance Programme (ARAP).
“We stand ready to help and are clear Afghanistan’s refugees are welcome in the city. We are working to support those who have fled to our city for their safety. Brighton and Hove has a proud history of solidarity and welcome for refugees, and we will be doing all we can to support the people fleeing from the desperate situation”. Councillor Phelim Mac Cafferty – Leader of BHCC
Thousands of Afghans have been airlifted to the UK and it is very likely that thousands more will arrive over the coming months. Brighton & Hove is a City of Sanctuary and the Council has an opportunity to make that a reality by giving them a welcoming refuge.
There has already been an outpouring of support from the residents of Brighton & Hove, similar to that in 2015 & 2016, especially after publication of the tragic pictures of the 3 year old Syrian boy Alan Kurdy. You can read more about how to help here: How to help refugees in Brighton & Hove (brighton-hove.gov.uk)
This information will be updated in the near future to reflect that SIS is also looking to involve Afghan residents in support.
SIS is looking for bilingual volunteers in both Pashto and Dari. SIS volunteers help with Befriending, Social Prescribing and/or Health Promotion. All volunteers receive free training and skills development, support from the project coordinator and re-imbursement of expenses. Please contact email@example.com or use one of the web link forms.
Brighton & Hove Stand Up To Racism will be holding a Stall at Brighton Clock Tower on Saturday 4th September, 13.00-14.30 to raise the profile of welcoming Afghan Refugees.
You can read more here: (4) Unity Stall – Afghan Refugees Welcome in Brighton & Hove | Facebook
There are many highly skilled and experienced voluntary and third sector organisations in the City. With the lead of BHCC, and with the knowledge that new arrivals will be able to access the statutory services they need, we can all deliver on the Sanctuary promise.
We believe that the positive experience of collaborating locally on the planned migration of the Oromo Community in 2006 and the Syrian Community from 2016 is a good model and starting point, but we want to go further.
A group of local Asylum and Refugee support organisations, including SIS, have written to the Leader of BHCC to call on them to:
- Make repeated and very clear statements that refugees are welcome here
- Set an ambitious target for how many Afghan refugees will be resettled here
- Prioritise ways to find suitable accommodation for them
- Act as a lead coordinator for all the refugee and asylum seeker organisations who can help
Many of those arriving will have had terrible experiences. It is also therefore vital that people will have access to good quality and sustained trauma focussed therapies.
We also call on East Sussex County Council and West Sussex County Council to match these commitments and participate actively in the voluntary dispersal scheme.
Arran Evans – Director SIS