A helping hand

Are you wondering how you can help or what you can do? We've put this article together for you and we are glad to see you have found your way to our website in your interest to find out more or help. 

Setting the scene for Afghan Resettlement

There are two separate schemes designed to help with the specific situation in Afghanistan. The ARAP (Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy) scheme is for around an estimated 5000 Afghans who are current or former locally employed staff (e.g. interpreters, embassy guards) who are assessed to be under serious threat to life and their families. The scheme in its current form has run since April.

The Afghanistan Citizens’ Resettlement Scheme is a new scheme that will welcome 5,000 Afghan citizens in year one, with up to a total of 20,000 in the long term. It is aimed at those most in need who have been forced to flee Afghanistan, including women, girls and children at risk given their particular vulnerability.

Every person coming to the UK as part of the resettlement scheme will be subject to the same strict security checks as those resettled through other schemes.

All refugees (i.e. anyone who arrives through either resettlement scheme) have access to mainstream benefits and services, including access to healthcare via the NHS and funding for English for Speakers of Other Languages through the Adult Education Budget (if they are unemployed and looking for work). They also have immediate and unrestricted access to the labour market and are eligible to receive employment support from the Department for Work and Pensions.

Anyone who arrives through the resettlement schemes will have been subject to security checks and have been granted full refugee status. However, it should be noted that many more people from Afghanistan will (and indeed already are) be arriving by irregular means (e.g. by boat). These are classed as asylum seekers and need to apply for refugee status. In the year to March 2021, over 3,000 Afghan nationals had asylum claims pending in the UK, over two-thirds of whom have been waiting longer than six months.

Asylum seekers are eligible for some support though it is much more limited than for refugees. This support includes:

  • A weekly payment of £39.64 (at the time of writing) is designed to help pay for things like food, clothing and toiletries. The allowance is loaded onto a debit card (ASPEN card) each week

  • Accommodation, but with no choice about where this will be

  • Basic health and dental care, and free prescriptions

  • Children must go to school and may receive free meals.

Under the Nationality and Borders Bill (which is currently being discussed in parliament) it will become a criminal offence to knowingly arrive in the UK illegally without permission to be here. The UK government’s position is that people should claim asylum in the first safe country they reach and not risk their lives making dangerous crossings across the Channel. This is an extremely controversial proposal (see the advocacy section below). At the present time, Afghans arriving by irregular means in the UK can still apply for asylum and may require help to do so.

How can I support Refugee Roots?

At Refugee Roots we are here for long-term support and friendship, helping those who need it most at the most critical and important times. Whilst we are not a typical emergency response service we are most often involved in participants' lives at key stages of their journeys. For us to be able to respond when participants come to us whether by word of mouth, referral, or existing relationships with the charity or its volunteers we need funding and volunteers. It's our 50+ volunteers that make the difference and our dedicated staff team who time and time again go the extra mile. So if you are wondering how can you respond to this crisis facing Afghanistan or feel the urge towards responding in some way to the situation of refugees and asylum seekers then you've made a good start by finding your way to Refugee Roots and anywhere else you might have researched. 

  • You can donate to one of our appeals
  • You can volunteer
    • Befriending and Navigating
      • Weekly one to one meetings for support and friendship
      • Accompanying to appointments, service providers and activities
    • English Classes
      • Teach English or support lessons
    • Supporting activities and sessions
      • Make a cup of tea, help set up the room
      • Go for a walk

Donate or Volunteer 

Other ways to help

Hosting and Housing

Can you offer accommodation to new arrivals in Nottingham.

Contact your council if you have a property available. 

You could consider becoming a host with a charity such as;

Clothing

Locally you can donate clothing to Host Nottingham. 

Food donations

Find your nearest foodbank

Supporting Crisis Response 

Consider supporting Refugee Action

Signposting Booklet

We have made a signposting booklet with Transforming Nottingham Together download here

Arabic

Farsi

Dari

English

The Church of England has made a very useful toolkit which we have included here for your reference. 

The Church of England Toolkit

Read Refugee Action's blog post here

Citation and References: Church Of England Toolkit: https://www.churchofengland.org/resources/community-action/toolkit-supporting-afghan-refugees