Six more donation points for refugees arriving from Afghanistan have been opened across Essex after an “outpouring of support” from residents.
The council says the most needed items are clean clothes and toiletries for people of all ages and toys for children.
In a statement, the county council said it had been “inundated” with requests from residents to donate items to those fleeing the new Taliban government in Afghanistan.
A spokesperson for Essex County Council said: “Following an outpouring of support from residents across Essex, more donation points have now been set-up for anyone wishing to donate essential items or clean clothes to help individuals arriving from Afghanistan.
“The county council has seen an incredible response from communities to date and continues to be inundated with calls and messages from people looking for opportunities to give what they can to support those arriving in the county.
“As individuals and families have arrived in Essex, local authority, NHS and voluntary organisations have quickly put in place support to address their immediate health and welfare needs.”
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Where the donations points are and what you can give
Donation points are now available at the following locations and times:
- Refugee Action Colchester, 15 Queen Street, Colchester, CO12PH
- Community 360, Winsley’s House, High Street, Colchester, Essex, CO1 1UG
- Chelmsford Community Resilience Hub – please call 01245 280731
- Hamptons Sports and Leisure Centre, Tydemans, Great Baddow, Chelmsford, CM2 9FH – August 26 and 27, between 1pm and 3pm
- Uttlesford Community Hub, 45 Stortford Road, Great Dunmow, Essex, CM6 1DQ – Monday to Friday, between 9.30am and 4.30pm
- Touchpoint Day Centre, Crafton Green House, Chapel Hill, Stansted CM24 8AB – Wednesday between 9am and 1pm, and Thursday between 9.30am and 4.30pm.
The items that are most needed include:
- Clean clothing and underwear for adults, children and teenagers of all ages
- Toiletries, including toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, sanitary items, shower gel
- Baby milk and nappies
- General essentials/consumables
- Toys and entertainment for children and young people
The county council is encouraging people to follow Covid-19 guidance when attending the donation points and a face covering will be required when inside
This follows support from several Essex districts for the Government’s Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP).
Earlier this week, Epping Forest District Council began talks to provide two family-sized homes for Locally Employed Staff (LES) who worked with British forces.
Around 80 interpreters and their families arrived in Colchester and Chelmsford last week.
Thurrock council also wrote to the Home Office offering to take part in the resettlement programme.
Basildon, Braintree and Rochford councils say they are identifying suitable housing.
Leader of Essex County Council Kevin Bentley (Con, Stanway and Pyefleet) said in a statement: “Individuals and families arriving from Afghanistan have gone through unimaginable experiences and our thoughts are with them as they start to adjust to a new and unfamiliar place.
“We have been overwhelmed but not surprised by the outpouring of support we have seen from residents and communities across Essex looking to do their bit to help those going through an extremely difficult and challenging time.
“We remain committed to working with partners to ensure that anyone arriving in Essex has the support they need and that their welfare is protected at all times.
“I’d like to thank you anyone who has already donated what they can, as well as everyone involved in working around the clock to make sure these individuals and families have the support they need.”