Refugees Welcome Here

Tower Hamlets Council today published this statement making clear its commitment to supporting Afghan refugees to settle in the UK. The statement outlines what action Tower Hamlets Council is taking in partnership with other agencies including the Mayor of London and identifies ways in which we can assist in making these refugees welcome in our community.

The statement is republished below. You can read the original here.

You can find NEU resources to support refugee children in our schools here.

Welcoming refugee children to your school: guidance

We will be discussing what support Tower Hamlets & the City NEU can give to this initiative at our next General Members Meeting on 20th September. The meeting will take place via zoom.

Support for Afghan Refugees

“The council is working closely with its partners to help refugees fleeing from Afghanistan, by giving them the support they need to re-build their lives in the UK.

Plans are continuing to be developed, and include an initial pledge from the council to rehouse up to five families. The council does recognise the additional housing challenge due to the shortage of larger family-sized properties in the borough.

Additional support will include helping families to settle into the local community, access benefits, employment and other local services like schools and doctors. 

Further updates will be provided as the range of support is further developed. This will include information on how local people and organisations can pledge their support to refugees.

The Government has promised to allow 20,000 people who have fled from the country since the Taliban took charge in August to settle in the UK over the next five years. The majority of those who have been flown out of the country are translators and their families, and others who worked alongside British forces and organisations in Afghanistan.

Many risked their lives in order to get into the airport in Kabul and onto flights out of the country, and efforts are continuing to allow for more people at risk to leave Afghanistan and reach safe countries, including the UK.

The Mayor of Tower Hamlets, John Biggs said:

“East London has a proud history of providing a safe haven for refugees of war and conflict. We have all been touched by the scenes of desperate refugees fleeing for their lives. London must play its part and Tower Hamlets will be at the forefront of London’s response.”

“There are Afghan families currently quarantining in hotels who need homes, care and support following the trauma they have faced. Our borough has a part to play, with support from the Government, in helping Afghan families find a home, access benefits, employment and local services like schools and doctors.”

“We are proud to be one of the London boroughs who have so far pledged to provide a range of help and support to Afghan refugee families and the council is in the process of working with charity groups and organisations across Tower Hamlets and London to do this.”  

How you can give your support

There are a number of ways you can support refugee families and we will continue to add to this page as opportunities develop in the future.

There is no immediate need for donations such as clothes, but do look out for specific requests for items that may be needed in the weeks and months ahead. Even very small financial contributions can make a huge difference, so do consider this if you are able to.

You can donate to the London Refugee Response set up with leadership from the Mayor of London, London Councils and charitable funders from across London so Londoners can provide much needed support to new arrivals from Afghanistan, (and potentially refugees and people seeking asylum from other countries living in London).

Sign up to the Volunteer Hub and volunteer your time with Volunteer Centre Tower Hamlets to help Afghan or other refugees and asylum seekers. The team will be compiling a list of volunteers and will get in touch with those who have signed up once specific roles are developed. 

Please also consider supporting Praxis and Care4Calais in their work with refugees.”