London council helps 800 Afghan refugees as they seek safety from Taliban



West London council staff are working long hours to support 800 Afghan refugees who have arrived in the borough to begin their new lives.

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea has launched a new team of staff to support refugees once they arrive from Afghanistan and leave compulsory hotel quarantine.

Workers are helping these people by providing food, medication, education and wellbeing support.

A council spokesperson explained that around 400 Afghan refugees arrived in the borough in the last week. The authority is supporting 800 people who have been placed in three quarantine hotels in central Kensington via the government.

They added that not all of these refugees are likely to remain in the borough after quarantine as some wish to move to other cities to be closer to family members.

Read more: £39.63 a week is what Afghanistan’s refugees will have to live on in the UK

The council also say they could not accommodate 800 refugees long term.

In September, the authority revealed it would offer Afghan families homes in four two-bedroom houses off Portobello Road, where the average house costs £1 million.

The council has launched an official page for people to make donations.

It has also started securing local primary school places for children who are beginning their new lives in the UK.

Council leader Elizabeth Campbell said: “Donations are coming in from the public and we are seeing a huge voluntary effort.

“We need the Home Office to match this effort on the ground urgently, and step up the pace in processing people and getting them ID and access to funds.”

She added: “People need access to things we often take for granted, such as medication, finances, food, and educational services.

“We are stepping up our response this week as we face a challenging situation with so many individuals and households arriving in the capital at the same time.

“Our officers have been working around the clock to support the brilliant work already done by so many other agencies and voluntary organisations in recent weeks.”

Natasha Bishop, the council’s head of early help and social work, said: “We know that having a safe and secure educational base can help young children not only integrate and learn, but support them through traumatic times.

“We have secured a number of primary school places already and we will be seeing what the possibilities are for older children and secondary schools.”





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