How you can help the Afghan refugees who will be arriving in Merton

Merton residents wanting to support Afghan refugees are advised to donate directly to local organisations.

After 20 years of conflict, the Taliban swept across Afghanistan in just 10 days – reclaiming Kabul and leaving more than 18 million people in need of humanitarian aid.

Around 5,000 Afghans will be flown to the UK under the Afghans Citizens’ Resettlement Scheme (ACRS) in the schemes first year, with a total of 20,000 to be welcomed in the long term.

In response to the crisis, Merton Giving, a charitable initiative by Merton Connected and Merton Chamber has signposted what residents in the borough can do to help as Afghan refugees begin to arrive in London.

By donating to the Merton Giving Refugee and Migrant Appeal

Merton Giving has created a dedicated Refugee and Migrant Appeal to collect donations for the local charitable organisations that support the refugees and migrants who will be making Merton their home.

Simon Shimmens, CEO of Merton Connected said: “Local organisations in Merton have been receiving kind offers of support to help, including clothing, food and equipment.

“There are existing community partnerships working to support refugees so we are asking residents instead to make donations to relevant local and national organisations or to the Merton Giving Refugee and Migrant Appeal. “

Merton Giving Chair Diana Sterck said: “Many of us have watched the devastating scenes unfold in Afghanistan and want to know what we can do to help locally. 

“We are pleased to be able to signpost residents who want to help to the relevant charities so they can make direct donations.

“The Merton Giving Refugee and Migrant Appeal has been set up to provide a focal point for donations.” 

For more information contact [email protected]

Donations can be made to the Merton Giving appeal here.

By directly supporting Merton charities

There are various charities in the borough whose work supports the resettlement of refugees in Merton.

These are the Afghan and Central Asian Association and The Salvation Army.

Merton Council has made a £15,000 donation which will be distributed to these charities working locally.

Refugee Response Co-ordinator for Merton Nick Coke said: “The Salvation Army in Raynes Park is working closely with Merton Council and other local partners to co-ordinate our response to the Afghan crisis.

“We are using our networks to ensure that practical assistance is given where it is needed and preparing longer term to support Afghans who may arrive in the future through the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme.”

In 2015, The Salvation Army in Raynes Park pioneered the Community Sponsorship of Refugees scheme to help Syrians fleeing conflict.

The scheme enabled The Salvation Army to bring a family to safety in Merton, with Merton Council being the first London borough to to help welcome a refugee family as part of the scheme.

Coke said: “Back in 2015, we at The Salvation Army in Raynes Park felt that we needed to do something to help Syrians fleeing the terrible conflict we witnessed every day on our TVs.

“Consequently, we pioneered the Community Sponsorship of Refugees scheme that enabled us to bring one family to safety and to help them resettle in our neighbourhood.

“They have profoundly touched our lives and helped us to see the world differently. 

“It’s been wonderful since then to see three more Community Sponsorship groups become established in Merton and more families welcomed. 

“Our resettlement experience has enabled us to extend support to asylum seekers in the area and build local partnerships ready to welcome and support Afghans requiring support at this critical time.”

For those interested in finding out more about Community Sponsorship, visit:

Donations can be made to The Salvation Army’s Raynes Park branch here.

Featured image credit: “Afghan Former Refugees at UNHCR Returnee Camp” by United Nations Photo is licensed with CC BY-NC-ND 2.0. Creative Commons.

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