Outpouring of support for Afghan refugees arriving in Exmouth

A sea safety event is planned for Exmouth

A sea safety event is planned for Exmouth - Credit: Jan Roberts

Exmouth Town Council and Devon County Council have been inundated with offers of help and support from local people following the arrival of Afghan families who are temporarily staying in a seafront hotel.

Twelve Afghan families arrived in Exmouth on Friday – the families had worked with and for the UK forces in Afghanistan.

The families, which include young children, had been flown into the UK in the final days before the fall of Kabul and before the new regime banned flights out of the country.

They had been staying in Covid-19 quarantine facilities in London before being temporarily placed in ‘bridging’ accommodation in Exmouth.

These families will be staying in the town in the short term until they are found permanent, long term accommodation in locations across the country.

It follows councils across the UK being asked by the UK Government to help identify suitable long-term accommodation for the resettlement scheme. In Devon, local appeals to private sector landlords have resulted in some potential homes being found.

Both the town and county councils are working to ensure that the families are provided with what they need. Additionally, local people and groups have shown their generosity offering items like pushchairs and toys etc.

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While the families don’t need food donations - their eating requirements are being provided by the hotel in which they are staying - donations of assorted items are being sought on a family-by-family and needs-specific basis by the Town Council with the help of a number of Exmouth based organisations, including Exmouth Food Bank, Exmouth Coastal Churches, Open Door and Exmouth Friends in Need.

The following items are needed by the families:

Nappies – assorted sizes for babies and toddlers up to 3 years of age
Baby wipes
Sanitary products
To donate these items please use one of the Exmouth Food Bank drop-off points:

Tesco Express, Rolle Street
Tesco, Salterton Road
Co-op, Magnolia Centre
Rivermead stores, Rivermead Avenue
Any excess donations will be used to help local families in need.

If you wish to make a financial donation, you can also consider making a donation to The Red Cross Afghanistan Appeal.

Exmouth Mayor Steve Gazzard, Chairman of Exmouth Town Council, said:

“Exmouth has always been a generous and welcoming community willing to help those in need.

“For many years these families helped our Armed Forces and now it’s time to help them. 

“These families fled their homes at short notice and arrived in the UK with little more than the clothes on their back."

Councillor Roger Croad, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for communities, said: “All local authorities have been asked to help support with Afghan refugees who worked with and for our UK forces in Afghanistan and who were forced to leave their country as a result of the collapse of the country following withdrawal of US and UK forces.

“After receiving notification from the Home Office these refugees will be temporarily staying in Exmouth as part of the Government’s national Afghan resettlement programme.

“We are working closely with our District and Town Council partners, NHS Devon, and local community and voluntary groups to make sure they are provided them with what they need, medical assistance and educational assistance for children.”

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