Salvation Army rallies in support of Afghan refugees
published on 17 Sep 2021
The Salvation Army has continued its long history of supporting refugees by helping Afghan nationals who have arrived in the country following the evacuation.
Around 10,000 refugees are set to arrive in The UK over the course of this year and, along with other charities, The Salvation Army is providing many new arrivals with a range of support.
Majors Stephen and Christine Perkins are Salvation Army officers serving as Chaplains at Heathrow. At the start of the evacuation from Afghanistan last month, they joined a huge team at the London Airport in response to the crisis, which together provided food, clothing and medical supplies as the refugees arrived over a five day period. Noticing there were many children arriving, the couple appealed to The Salvation Army’s nearby church in Staines who loaned them toys and games.
Major Stephen added: “The children were very sombre and subdued but they really came to life when we played and interacted with them, and the parents were hugely grateful, as were Heathrow staff. It was a very humbling experience and we felt privileged to play our part as Salvation Army Chaplains. We were present for each of the days over 12 hours.”
In Northampton, The Salvation Army is working with other organisations to support 155 refugees who arrived in the town earlier this month by setting up a distribution hub to meet the group’s immediate needs with clothing and other items.
Captain Tim Stone, Northampton Salvation Army church leader, said refugees are also being helped to adjust to cultural differences.
He added: “Even simple things need a bit of care and attention such as helping people use the roads safely. In Afghanistan, when people walk into the roads, cars will stop for you so you can go. You can’t do that here.”
Salvation Army volunteers from Ilford have been supporting a donation centre at Redbridge Town Hall while our churches in Watford, Stocksbridge, Ramsgate, Swindon Feltham, Twickenham, Teddington, Hoxton and Crewe are among those to support refugees arriving in their areas.
Major Nick Coke leads The Salvation Army’s church at Raynes Park and is also Refugee Response Coordinator for the church and charity across the UK and Ireland. He’s building on The Salvation Army’s refugee resettlement experience and working with numerous groups across the country to prepare a welcome for Afghans.
Nick said: “Our aim is to provide long-term refugee resettlement for a number of families across the country. We are working with local authorities on their resettlement plans and have a number of our local churches developing Community Sponsorship programmes.
“We want to ensure that Afghans arriving receive a warm welcome and every support in re-building their lives in a new country. Our teams of trained volunteers will use their local knowledge and skills to support families into education, access to health services, English classes and employment. This is long-term work and we are committed to supporting every aspect of integration.”
Contact your local Salvation Army church or centre to find out how you can help those in your area. For more details, go to www.salvationarmy.org.uk/map-page