‘Close-knit’ Exmouth has been praised for its ‘kindness and generosity’ in helping 12 Afghan families who have been given refuge in the town.
Town mayor, Councillor Steve Gazzard, has spoken of his ‘pride’ at the hands of the town’s residents and organisations, who have donated supplies and clothes to the refugees, who fled Afghanistan when the Taliban took over.
Cllr Gazzard said help was also available for families living locally and urged anyone in need to ‘come forward’.
Devon County Council said ‘hundreds of people’ have donated items for the Afghan families, ranging from raincoats, nappies, toiletries and footwear.
Councillor Gazzard said: “On behalf of the town council I want to thank every person and every organisation who has contributed. Exmouth is a town with strong military links and these families supported and helped British Forces for many years when we needed them.
“The last week has been a timely reminder of just how the kind and generous Exmouth people and its voluntary groups are – we are a close-knit community and we have always looked out for those in need.
“Please remember, if you or your family is struggling, if you need help, advice or a helping hand, the community organisations Exmouth Food Bank, Exmouth Coastal Churches, Open Door, Exmouth Friends in Need. Exmouth Salvation Army, Churches Together, local people on the Exmouth Community Facebook page, will do whatever they can to help you get back on your feet.
“This support is not just available to a few, its available to everyone in their time of need.”
Last week 12 Afghan families, who had worked with – and for – the UK forces in Afghanistan, arrived in the town to temporarily stay in ‘bridging accommodation’ at a seafront hotel until they are found permanent, long-term accommodation in the UK.
Because of their work with British Forces the families, some with babies and young children, were forced to leave everything they know behind for fear of reprisals from the Taliban regime.
Their arrival in Exmouth followed the Government urging councils across the UK to help pinpoint and provide suitable long-term accommodation so the refugees can start new lives.
Over the past week Exmouth Town Council, and voluntary groups locally, has been working to ensure the families have the essentials, said Devon County Council.