How Northamptonshire charity is helping Afghan refugees adapt to life in the county
“It’s very much our mission to give them a place of belonging they can visit every day”
A Northamptonshire branch of a charity is doing all it can to help refugees from Afghanistan adapt to life in the county.
The Salvation Army leaders are working with other organisations from across the county after they received a request from West Northamptonshire Council.
As well as a safe place to live, the refugees also need clothes and other essentials, which is what The Salvation Army is providing.
Tim Stone, from the charity, said: “The real thing we can offer is safe space in our hall.
“It’s very much our mission to be there to help and support them and give them a place of belonging they can visit every day.
“We are working with organisations, including The Red Cross and Tesco, who are providing the group with clothing.
“We are the distribution centre and our guests are welcome to come in and get items they need for themselves and their families.
“We also offer safe space for children to play in and for everyone to sit and enjoy refreshments together.
“This is a disparate group from across Afghanistan and they are really just getting to know each other.
“We want to help them get to know people in an environment where they feel comfortable.”
Two days after the first refugees arrived, The Salvation Army opened its hall to meet the group’s immediate needs. Some people only possessed the clothes they stood up in.
Tim and other Salvation Army volunteers are also helping the group adapt to their new home, signposting them towards services, including education and jobs – and helping them adjust to cultural issues.
He said: “There are a lot of things we have to learn.
“Even simple things need a bit of care and attention such as helping people use the roads as pedestrians. In Afghanistan, when people walk into the roads, cars will stop so you can go. You can’t do that here.
“We’re very pleased to do our part in the community to support them at this time.
“The local reaction is an example of willingness and dedication at its very best, and we are just glad to be a part of it.”
The council has also released a list of items that members of the public can donate to help refugees. Donations can be pledged here.