Residents have rallied to inundate authorities with offers of support for a dozen Afghan families who are temporarily staying in a hotel on Exmouth seafront.
The refugees, who include young children, arrived in the ‘bridging accommodation’ in the East Devon town on Friday, September 17.
Exmouth Town Council and Devon County Council say they have been ‘inundated’ with gestures of help from local people .
Both councils are working to ensure families, who had worked with and for the UK forces in Afghanistan, are provided with what they need – and have issued a appeal for specific items.
Residents and groups have already shown their generosity offering items like pushchairs and toys.
The families – flown into the UK in the final days before the fall of Kabul to the Taliban – will be staying in Exmouth in the short-term until they are found permanent homes in locations across the country.
Mayor Steve Gazzard, who chairs the town council, said: “Exmouth has always been a generous and welcoming community willing to help those in need.
“For many years these families helped our Armed Forces and now it’s time to help them.
“These families fled their homes at short notice and arrived in the UK with little more than the clothes on their back.”
While the families don’t need food donations – their eating requirements are being provided by the hotel in which they are staying – assorted items are being sought.
- Nappies – assorted sizes for babies and toddlers up to three years of age;
- Baby wipes;
- Sanitary products.
To donate items, people are being asked to use one of the Exmouth Food Bank drop-off points at:
- Tesco Express in Rolle Street;
- Tesco in Salterton Road;
- Co-op in the Magnolia Centre;
- Rivermead stores in Rivermead Avenue.
Any excess donations will be used to help local families in need.
Councillor Roger Croad, Devon County Council’s cabinet Member with responsibility for communities, said: “All local authorities have been asked to help support with Afghan refugees who worked with and for our UK forces in Afghanistan and who were forced to leave their country as a result of the collapse of the country following withdrawal of US and UK forces.
“After receiving notification from the Home Office these refugees will be temporarily staying in Exmouth as part of the Government’s national Afghan resettlement programme.
“We are working closely with our District and Town Council partners, NHS Devon, and local community and voluntary groups to make sure they are provided them with what they need, medical assistance and educational assistance for children.”
Financial donations can also be made via The Red Cross Afghanistan Appeal.