Bishop's Stortford MP Julie Marson calls on constituents to 'open hearts' to Afghan refugees
Bishop's Stortford's MP is encouraging residents to "lend a helping hand to refugees fleeing Afghanistan".
Conservative Julie Marson is directing constituents to the Government's webpage where individuals can support the resettlement programme by offering everything from clothes, baby stuff and white goods to housing, tutoring, legal services and jobs.
The MP for Hertford and Stortford said: "We owe a great deal to many Afghan refugees who, over the years, have worked with British forces, often risking their lives while doing so. Helping them resettle in Britain has been a priority of mine for some time and is an issue I have raised in the House of Commons previously.
"I have worked closely with East Herts Council over the past few days to see how much support can be offered to provide housing and I know that many local residents will be keen to offer their own help and support to Afghan refugees. Anyone who wishes to contribute to this effort can visit the Government's webpage to see what they can offer.
"Our community has a big heart and I am sure we will show this to the people of Afghanistan."
The Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) focuses on providing refuge to current and former Afghan staff members who have risked their lives working with British troops over the past 20 years, their families and other particularly vulnerable refugees.
In September last year, Mrs Marson tabled a question to Defence Secretary Ben Wallace: "Afghan interpreters have provided an invaluable service to our armed forces, saving the lives of many British soldiers. Will my right honourable friend update the House on the Government's progress on their commitments to the Afghan interpreters?"
Former soldier Mr Wallace, the Tory member for Wyre and Preston North, said then: "The Home Secretary and I announced at the weekend that the criteria for interpreters to relocate to the UK will be expanded to include those who resigned on or after 1 May 2006 with 18 months' or more service on the front line in Helmand, so that more may come with their families to build a new life in the UK.
"In addition, the Home Secretary and I committed to look even further at those criteria and to look at where people suffer intimidation, to see whether those thresholds are in the right place as the peace deal progresses in Afghanistan. Standing by these people is an honourable thing to do. They helped to keep our men and women safe, and this is long overdue."
For details of how to help the refugees, see www.gov.uk/help-refugees.