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9 September 2021

Community First’s Coordination of Afghan Evacuee Donations in Hampshire

As a member of the Hampshire Council for Voluntary Service (CVS), Community First is pleased to have been appointed as Hampshire County Council’s (HCC) nominated coordinator, working with local partners including the British Red Cross, District and Borough councils, NHS, support providers and local charities to assist Afghan families moving to the UK to re-settle as part of the Government’s Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy programme.

We are working with our partners as part of the emergency response and are coordinating the collection and distribution of donated items to urgently support those being offered temporary accommodation in Hampshire. To facilitate this, we set up several Community First collection sites around the region and these hubs have been receiving donations for over the two weeks. The current situation is extremely fluid and given the overwhelming response to our appeal, we are now at the stage where we need to temporarily pause the collection (from Tuesday 7 Sept – until further notice) of clothing and sort through what we have been given, to ensure that each kind donation gets to the families that urgently need it.

The response from the local community in our region, from donations – churches, local groups, streets coming together, local charities, businesses – to volunteers working in our collection hubs, has been astounding and extremely heart-warming. Community First’s CEO, Tim Houghton, stated that “Since being tasked by the County Council to manage the collection and distribution of donated items in support of those Afghan families arriving in Hampshire, we have seen such immense community spirit and generosity. We have been overwhelmed with the warm welcome and offers of support that have been received for the evacuated families, and we are extremely proud to be at the hub of the Hampshire community, coordinating our region’s collective operations. Up and down the county, local communities are coming together to do what they can to try and make the lives of families that have found themselves in a very difficult situation, slightly more bearable. I would like to take the time to say how truly grateful my organisation and I are for the all the help we have received over the last two weeks”.

Evacuees are currently in temporary accommodation and whilst our initial appeal was for essential items such as warm clothing and nappies, we would now be grateful for the community to consider donating supermarket or mobile credit vouchers; these can be donated at any Community First office or by posting to our Fareham office at 163 West Street, Fareham, PO16 0EF. The situation in terms of what has been donated and what is still urgently needed is fluid and ever changing; although there is still much work to be done to support the families in our region to make them comfortable during this challenging time, we now have an adequate supply of clothing.

The following is requested by the CEO of Community First in support of efforts to coordinate the project “Thank you to everyone that has kindly donated items in support of the evacuated Afghan families! We have been overwhelmed by the generosity that has been shown. We currently have a plentiful supply of clothing and we are now asking those wishing to donate to perhaps consider supermarket vouchers or mobile top up vouchers; these are good way to support the families and would be most gratefully received. Donations like these enable parents, particularly mothers, ensure that their families have the items they deem as a priority to their particular needs; essential equipment for their babies and young children, and appropriate attire for themselves and their daughters, are just two examples that might be relevant.”

Once families are out of temporary accommodation and start to settle in more permanent accommodation, we will issue further guidance to the local community on what items may be needed and how to donate to provide further support. Until that point, our focus remains on coordinating distribution of urgently needed items that have been donated by the local community in support of those being offered temporary accommodation in Hampshire on behalf of Hampshire County Council.

For further clarification on any of the above information, please contact marketing@cfirst.org.uk.

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