RESETTLEMENT SCHEME: Afghan families in Middlesbrough
Andy Preston, independent Mayor of Middlesbrough, Image: Middlesbrough Borough Council
The Middlesbrough mayor has confirmed that the town will take up to 15 Afghan families following the Taliban takeover in the country.
The UK is set to receive 5,000 people in the first year and another 15,000 in the coming years as part of the Afghan citizens’ resettlement scheme.
Andy Preston said: “Over time, we’ll be proud to welcome up to 15 Afghan families fleeing from the Taliban and will identify appropriate homes for them to live here in peace, free from terror.
“I know the vast majority of Middlesbrough residents will join me in welcoming those who risked their lives to work alongside the British armed forces.”
When Afghan refugees reach the UK they will have just £39.63 per week, or £5.64 per day to live on.
The majority of refugees will not be able to work in the UK until they have been through the asylum process.
Mayor Preston has spoken out before on this issue and said that Middlesbrough would ‘stand tall’ to offer sanctuary to those who have been ‘persecuted, terrorised and abused’.
However, he has also said that ‘posh places’ like Kensington & Chelsea also need to take in their ‘fair share’ of refugees.
A cross-party group of councillors have been collecting toys, clothes and bedding for the last two years for those in need and have now decided to focus their efforts on helping those fleeing Afghanistan.
Councillors Joan McTigue, Alma Hellaoui and Brian Hubbard are behind the scheme which has been backed by the council’s chief executive Tony Parkinson who has provided space in the Town Hall for donations.
Cllr McTigue said: “We owe it to those fleeing the Taliban to do all we can to support them and we already know how compassionate and generous the people of Middlesbrough are.
“I don’t ask people what race or religion they are – if they are in need and are genuine, they are welcome to anything I have collected.
“We already have enough bedding to furnish a small hotel and still it keeps coming from Middlesbrough, Stockton, Norton, Billingham and beyond.
“Cllr Allan Bell has given me no fewer than 35 pairs of jeans he has collected and we are offering them whatever they need from our stock in the Town Hall.
“We have a good selection of clothes and toys for the children – no doubt all they had was left behind.
“The generosity of people in our area never ceases to amaze me and I am grateful to everyone who has donated – their generosity really does change lives.”
Words: Emily Craigie, Local Democracy Reporter
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