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Our response to the situation in Afghanistan

As a Borough of Sanctuary, Lewisham is determined to provide a safe home for Afghan refugees fleeing conflict and persecution.

The Council wrote to the Government on 17 August 2021 urging it to do all it can to support those fleeing violence and persecution in Afghanistan and to offer our commitment to provide sanctuary here in LewishamRead our full statement.

Resettling families

Lewisham Council is committed to supporting families arriving from Afghanistan. We will do everything we can to help these families and will be resettling families in the borough as part of the Afghanistan Relocation and Assistance Policy (ARAP). We will look to resettle families under the Government’s planned Afghan Citizens’ Resettlement Scheme when further details are announced.

Landlords who want to help are encouraged to get in touch if they are able to offer a property. Any self-contained accommodation (i.e. private flats or houses) will be considered for these families. You would be making a massive contribution to the success of the programme. For further information email Gloria Coker at SVPR@lewisham.gov.uk.

Information for residents with family in Afghanistan

The Home Office has information about their support for British and non-British nationals in Afghanistan, including phone numbers you can contact for assistance.

The Red Cross International Family Tracing service may be able to help locate family affected by recent developments. You can find further information and how to contact them on the Red Cross website.

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, has an Afghanistan ‘HELP’ section on its website which provides useful information to individuals seeking information or support inside Afghanistan. 

You may also wish to approach your local MP for help and advice, or to liaise with the Home Office on your behalf.

The Home Office have also produced factsheets with information on the resettlement routes for Afghan nationals. Further details are available on the Afghanistan Relocation and Assistance Policy (ARAP) website.

Independent help and support in Lewisham for refugees, migrants and asylum seekers

Lewisham has many groups which work to support refugees, asylum seekers and migrants in the UK. If you need independent help and support, you can contact one of these organisations:

How you can help

  • Properties: We are in particular need of suitable properties to rehouse families. We would welcome offers of many types of good quality property – houses, flats; large or small. However, properties must be located within the borough of Lewisham. In addition, we cannot accept shared accommodation or spare bedrooms in houses.
  • ESOL teachers: The Council will provide English classes for families resettled in the borough. However, we are eager for qualified ESOL teachers to volunteer and provide additional tuition. We may be able to hold courses online or in person.
  • Translation and interpretation: To help families as they arrive in the borough we would greatly appreciate any qualified translators or interpreters to get in touch to provide translation from Pashto and Dari.

If you are able to help with the core areas outlined above, please email us at SVPR@lewisham.gov.uk

In your email please state the nature of the assistance that you can provide in the subject e.g. If you are able to provide a property, the subject of your email ''Volunteering - Properties''. 

Please note that we will share your contact details with relevant organisations who are assisting us in providing support for these families. 

The Lewisham Donation Hub is continuing collections for Afghan refugees. Visit their website for advice on the items required and how to provide them. 

Visit the Lewisham Refugee and Migrant Network website for a full list of actions you can take to support people from Afghanistan, both locally and nationally.

If you want to find out more about the organisations supporting refugees and asylum seekers in Lewisham, visit Lewisham Locals website to find out how you can support them.

If you are interested in welcoming a family to live in your community, visit the Reset website to find out more about the community scheme.