Slough Refugee Support CEO praises swift response to donations plea

Council ‘overwhelmed’ by donations for Afghan refugees

Hundreds of bags worth of donations have been received

A Slough refugee charity has paid tribute to the generosity shown by people who have donated thousands of pounds and essential items to help refugees fleeing Afghanistan.

Slough Refugee Support (SRS), based in Bath Road, has been working with the Royal Borough council to coordinate donations as part of the national effort to resettle those fleeing for their lives from the Taliban.

Chief executive of the charity, Taz Mohammed, told the Express that he and his team are grateful for the huge number of donations that have arrived since a call was put out last week.

He added that he is now asking people to refrain from donating more items until the existing ones are sorted through, with SRS needing to figure out how the items can benefit the families set to be supported by the Royal Borough.

Bags full of clothes, toys and other items are now in the process of being arranged, with other items, such as cutlery, likely to be needed in the future once families are settled.

But Taz (below) urged those still wishing to help to provide financial donations online, where more than £3,000 has been raised for the cause so far.

It comes after hundreds of bags of donations were dropped off for the charity and council-run campaign, with more than 300 bags of clothing and baby items donated during the first three days.

Royal Borough council leader Andrew Johnson (Con, Hurley and Walthams) said he had been ‘overwhelmed’ by the community’s response.

“As a compassionate borough, I am so proud of the way we are responding swiftly and compassionately, as a community and a council, to this national call for support, and we will ensure that the donations find their way quickly to help those in need,” Cllr Johnson said last week.

Speaking to the Express, Taz added: “The response has been great, we could never have imagined it. The British public just comes forward, they never let us down.

“And it has been great to see so much sympathy for the Afghans who are stuck there now.”

He added: “These people who are coming over do not have clothes with them apart from what they are wearing.

“I would really like to thank them [the public] from the bottom of my heart, not just from me but the whole team.

“Without the help, it would have been very hard. It shows that people want to give.”

Taz said that the support offered by SRS does not stop after the plea for donations is given. He added that the families need to be picked up from the airport and integrated into British society, with some needing to learn the language.

Others are supported into work and advised on how to access housing with the help of SRS, as they seek a safe haven away from trouble in their homeland.

“We need to explain [to them] how we live in the UK,” Taz said. “We help with employment, benefits.

“All of us are very passionate about helping the vulnerable. I am very proud – I am proud of SRS, and of the British public, there has been a lot of empathy and passion shown to help these people out.”

For more information on SRS, visit www.sloughrefugeesupport.org.uk or phone 01753 537142.

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