How Newcastle charities are preparing to welcome refugees to city - and how you can help

Charities throughout Newcastle have asked for volunteers, donations and support in helping refugees from Afghanistan.

Refugees arriving in London from Afghanistan
Refugees arriving in London from Afghanistan
Refugees arriving in London from Afghanistan

Local charities in Newcastle upon Tyne are preparing to welcome and support refugees from Afghanistan.

Newcastle City Council announced last week  the city is  ready to “play its part” in helping rehome Afghan refugees, and charities around Newcastle upon Tyne are too.

The government have announced potential plans to house 20,000 Afghan refugees over five to seven years, with 5,000 to be resettled in the first year.

Charities appeal to Newcastle residents

Charities in the local area are appealing to the community for help with donations, volunteering and food and toiletries for asylum seekers.

The West End Refugee Service is just one of many charities in the area helping new arrivals from Afghanistan.

The charity is hoping to help those fleeing the Taliban feel at home on Tyneside and a spokesperson said: “Our doors are open to whoever needs our help.”

“We hope that we can help people to see Tyneside as their new home, where they feel welcomed, supported and can start a new future.”

They added that they are “working with partners in the region” to ensure new arrivals to the city receive care packs which may include toiletries and clothing.

They said: “We are based in a region that is proud of the warm welcome it gives to refugees. We will continue to fight for this.”

Support from the community

Rebecca Stevenson-Read of St Vincent’s Centre charity in Newcastle which helps people living in poverty in the city said that they had been blown away by the response to the organisation’s refugee appeal.

She said : “People have been amazingly generous.”

“If people do want to support, we’re really keen to get in more food provisions and toiletries.”

“We know that people are arriving with really nothing, so protein sources, tea and coffee, and maybe some treats for children are what we’re looking for.”

St Vincent’s provide a hot takeaway meal service every week, Monday to Friday, from 11:30am to 1:30pm.

West End Refugee Service is currently looking for volunteers and is keen for donations of toiletries, which they distribute weekly. They are currently unable to store clothing donations.

Donations can be made at St Philip’s Vicarage at Sy Philip’s Close on Mondays and Wednesdays between 10am and 1pm.

How to help

North East Solidarity and Teaching released a list of items that the community could donate.

The list includes pyjamas, waterproof coats, shoes, unopened toiletries such as shampoo and toothpaste, and children’s toys.

Donations can be dropped off at King’s Gate building on the Newcastle University campus. The charity also takes financial donations.

For St Vincent’s, the donations, Rebecca Stevenson-Read says, are “used to support our essential work in looking after people who have very little.”

St Vincents is currently accepting food and toiletry donations, but are now unable to take any more clothing items.