Longleigh and Stonewater work together to support Afghans resettling in the UK

As the Afghanistan crisis worsens, Stonewater and Longleigh are working together to support Afghan individuals and families who are being resettled via the UK government’s Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme. Longleigh is now offering grants of up to £1,000 and wellbeing support for those individuals and families being resettled by Stonewater.

In August we all looked in horror at the unfolding crisis in Afghanistan, as US and NATO forces fully withdrew. The resulting chaos and violence was harrowing, as the US-backed Afghani government fell to Taliban forces. From images of Afghans clinging to military planes trying to escape to the Afghani women and girls protesting the rolling back of their rights, the international outcry spurred governments into action.

Facing this crisis, the UK government responded with a new scheme to help evacuate and resettle Afghans named the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS). ACRS works alongside their other scheme, the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP), which is for Afghans that worked with the UK government and has been running since April this year.

Under the ACRS, the government has committed to welcoming 5,000 Afghans in the first year and 20,000 over the coming years. They will priorities those who ‘assisted the UK efforts in Afghanistan’, ‘stood up for values such as democracy, women’s rights, freedom of speech, and rule of law’ and vulnerable groups, such as ‘women and girls at risk, and members of minority groups at risk (including ethnic and religious minorities and LGBT+)’ (Source: Gov.UK). Almost three months on since the Taliban returned to power, fleeing Afghans have begun arriving in new host countries. And one of the biggest questions for those arriving in the UK is: where will home be?

Stop Killing Afghan Protest in London, August 2021. Photo credit: Unsplash, Ehimetalor Akhere Unuabona

Stonewater offers support

Local authorities and councils are stepping up with government support to provide housing and safety across the UK. But this is also a chance for housing associations like our main donor, Stonewater, to step in. We are pleased to share that Stonewater has agreed to support families and individuals find a new home in the UK. The first Afghans have begun arriving and joining the Stonewater community. Thanks to Stonewater’s commitment, Longleigh is now able to help. We are able to support Afghan families and individuals through our individual grants and providing access to our new wellbeing programme, Circles of Support.

What support can we provide?

We’ve looked at how we can best help, taking into account that many local authorities will also provide support. As we head into a challenging winter of benefits reductions and increasing living costs, we’ve also ensured we can retain our ongoing commitments to Stonewater’s customers when they experience times of crisis or hardship in their lives.

Considering all these important factors, we can proudly announce that grants of up to £1,000 are available for individuals and families referred via the ACRS depending on their specific circumstances. Importantly, Stonewater has committed to 1:1, ongoing assistance to all those accessing our grants. We want to fully support Afghani individuals and families, as they make sense of their new surroundings.

All Stonewater customers can access Circles of Support and for Afghans referred via the ACRS, we have put arrangements in place for translation and interpreter support as needed. Circles of Support focuses on enabling people to improve their economic, emotional and physical wellbeing, offering wraparound support via our funding partners. You can find out more here.

What can we all do?

We are glad that we can support in our own way the families and individuals being resettled via Stonewater and the ACRS. But we understand there is much more to do. The Afghanistan crisis is ongoing and the United Nations explains that prior to the Taliban entering Kabul, already ‘Nearly half of the country’s 40 million people, or 18.4 million people, already needed humanitarian assistance’ (Source: United Nations) And this humanitarian crisis is worsening under the weight of conflict, violence, food insecurity, gender-based violence and Covid-19.

If you want to show your support, there are many resources you can find online. Here are a few to get you started: Red Cross, Women for Women International, and International Rescue Committee.

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