Refugee resettlement and response to the Afghan Refugee Crisis
How we have supported refugees
Wandsworth has a long and proud history of welcoming migrants, from the Huguenots in the 17th century onwards.
Most recently, it has supported the Syrian Refugee scheme, under which it has facilitated the resettlement of 51 people in 12 families since October 2016, securing them accommodation and supporting their integration into education and employment.
What we are doing
Wandsworth Council shares the public’s concerns for the Afghan people and stands ready to do what it can to support efforts to resettle those fleeing danger.
And we know that the borough’s Afghan community are particularly concerned at this difficult time.
Settlement of refugees in appropriate communities with appropriate support is complex and is rightly being coordinated at a national level.
We have formally committed to supporting the government's Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) and the Afghan Citizens’ Resettlement Scheme.
At the moment, we are working to identify accommodation to offer to refugees and ensure everything is in place to welcome and support them.
How you can help
We know many of our residents are eager to help, but it’s easy to feel powerless and it’s hard to know where to start.
Until we have housing allocated and are ready to welcome refugees to Wandsworth, there is no specific local demand for donations such as clothing, toys, toiletries etc.
There are a number of charities supporting the national response, including British Red Cross, the Refugee Council and Refugee Action, as well as charities working in Afghanistan. The best way to support them at the moment is with financial donations. Information is given below.
We are also looking for private rental accommodation to provide housing for refugees. If you are a landlord, you can find out more below.
Donations to charities
There are many charities working on the ground in the country, despite the unrest and military actions of recent weeks. There are also some UK based charities that are offering support to people living in the UK.
Afghanaid provides kitchen kits that allow people who have left their homes to cook and safely store food, plus solar-powered lamps, stoves and gas cylinders.
"We are working hard to ensure the safety of our staff and where possible have reopened a number of our offices to continue our work in supporting remote rural communities. We are delivering emergency support to families whose lives have been destroyed or uprooted by the conflict."
Afghanistan and Central Asian Association
Based in Hounslow, the ACAA provides support, skills, and knowledge to help our communities live and prosper in the UK. They are currently working to support the crisis by:
- Liaising with hotels who are accommodating the Afghan arrivals and establishing what essential items are needed.
- Sourcing the items needed from our donations and distributing them to the hotels.
- Supporting members of the community who have concerns about families back in Afghanistan. All conversations are logged and emails sent to MPs.
They are not currently taking donations of second-hand clothes. To help, you can:
- Donate to support the resettlement work
- Purchase required items from their Amazon wishlist
British Red Cross
The British Red Cross is raising funds to support their work.
In the UK, staff and volunteers are welcoming refugees, providing emotional support and essential items.
In Afghanistan, money donated will provide Afghans with basic medical supplies and medicines as well as food, shelter and water.
International Rescue Committee
Emergency relief charities are asking for donations, with the International Rescue Committee trying to raise $10 million to continue delivering lifesaving aid.
London Refugee Response Fund
The London Refugee Response Fund has been set up to give Londoners a way to provide much needed support to new arrivals from Afghanistan (and potentially refugees and people seeking asylum from other countries living in London).
The monetary donations collected will be routed to organisations and not individuals, to try and meet medium and long term need.
Refugee Action specialises in welcoming and supporting refugees in the UK. At the moment they have staff at airports welcoming refugees and are helping people with urgent needs such as meals and means to contact family.
The Refugee Council provide crisis advice and practical support, to help refugees to integrate into their new communities and offer mental health counselling. Money donated will contribute to mental health support, employment assistance, language and integration support and many other things.
Women for Women International
There is especial concern about the plight of women and girls in the country, as the last time the Taliban were in power they forced them to wear burqas and refused to let women work. Charity Women for Women International is "confident" that community and religious leaders will allow it to continue operating.
"We are committed to finding practical, safe, solutions so that we can continue to operate and make a positive difference for the people of Afghanistan who have already suffered far too much and who deserve peace and prosperity."
If you are a private landlord
We are looking for landlords who could provide a secure and safe home for refugees resettling in London. If you would like to rent a property through us at an affordable rate and help refugees to come to Wandsworth for resettlement, please contact us.
At the moment government criteria means we can only offer self-contained homes to refugees.
Properties must meet the following criteria:
- Within the borough of Wandsworth
- A self-contained home
- Have at least two bedrooms (ideally three/four)
- Fully furnished
- Available for private letting and as a landlord you will accept rent at local housing allowance rates
- Can be let on an Assured Shorthold Tenancy for at least 24 months
These requirements are designed to ensure families have the security and space they need.
We are offering the following incentive packages:
- 1 bedroom = £2,000 +6 weeks rent in advance
- 2 bedroom = £2,500 + 6 weeks rent in advance
- 3 bedroom = £3000 +6 weeks rent in advance
- 4 bedroom = £3,500 +6 weeks rent in advance
Contact our temporary accommodation team who administer this scheme:
- Telephone: 020 8871 7333
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org