Generous Fifers have given more than 20,000 bags of clothing and over £15,000 in donations to Afghan families forced to flee after the Taliban seized back control of their country.
Around ten families initially arrived in the Kingdom to be resettled in Scotland following the regime change, but that number is thought to have increased in the last few months.
Fife Voluntary Action (FVA) co-ordinated an appeal for donations of clothing, toys, books and other items, as well as financial donations to purchase items that were not or could not be donated.
The response was so big that Kenny Murphy, chief executive of FVA, said the group was now making items available to any charity in Fife.
“These families came to Fife with nothing, fleeing Afghanistan for their lives at very short notice,” he said.
“Families are able to come as often as they want to take whatever they need.
“They are extremely grateful and thankful for the generosity shown by Fifers.
“The families that have arrived in Fife have received excellent support from a multi-agency core group, led by Fife Council, with significant involvement from a range of partners in the statutory and third sectors.
“Partners met daily to start with, then three times per week and continue to meet weekly now.
“The level of communication and support between agencies has been excellent, with all partners contributing what they could with the resources available.
“The programme is being managed by the UK Home Office, so certain things are not in our control or gift, but we’re working closely with national partners to provide appropriate support to those families currently in Fife.
“Crucially, the families are safe and being well looked after.”
A group of volunteers have been working alongside staff for weeks to sort through the bags, and any items deemed unsuitable are being recycled.
Other voluntary sector organisations, including local churches, have also been supportive – raising money, offering their facilities and helping families to participate in local activities and classes.
“We’ve a significant surplus of great quality clothing, toys, books and new toiletries that we’re keen to make sure goes to good use, so we’re no longer accepting donations,” Mr Murphy said,
He added any charity interested in the surplus to make an appointment with FVA as soon as possible.
“If people really want to help, please consider volunteering a few hours with us to sort out the last few thousand bags, or donate money to FVA for the Afghan families to support their integration and establishing a new life in the UK,” he said.
“We’ve used some of the funding to go towards sports equipment and games for the families, books, colouring pens and so on.
“We’ve provided clothing and equipment for the children now attending local schools and supporting participation in local groups and activities that they want to take part in.
“Overall, I am confident that we’ve provided a safe, welcoming and supportive environment here in Fife.
“Things are not perfect, but given the nature of this humanitarian crisis and the speed at which we mobilised our services, I am proud of the work of partners here in Fife, and of Fife Voluntary Action’s role in coordinating some of that.”
Anyone interested in finding out more can contact 0800 389 6046 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to get in touch or arrange an appointment.