Care4Calais put out a call for help to support refugees from Afghanistan who are arriving in Manchester this week.
And the city has delivered, with a huge quantity of items being donated at drop-off points and tens of thousands of pounds being donated to a crowd-funder to provide welcome packs.
The outpouring of generosity towards those seeking to flee Afghanistan following the devastating events of the past 10 days or so has delighted the charity, whose website crashed earlier in the week because so many people were trying to access it.
A huge public desire to help
Mancunians have risen to the occasion after help was requested to support those arriving in the UK from Afghanistan.
Items including warm clothes, shoes, sleeping bags, rucksacks and phone chargers have already been given to Care4Calais at its network of drop-off locations.
At the same time its crowd-funding campaign stood at more than £43,000 on Thursday afternoon (19 August).
Care4Calais founder Clare Moseley said: “It is absolutely fantastic. Lots of stuff has come in and we’ve also been signing people up as volunteers.
“A lot of this job is quite depressing and involves bad stories but this has been pretty amazing, seeing people react in this way.
“People have been coming in saying they want to help and I thought I was going to cry, it was so lovely.”
Manchester residents have also been getting in touch through social media offering their services, with one plant-based restaurant in the city asking if it could provide hot meals.
More donations will still be needed
Clare said that more donations will always be welcomed, especially as charities are now gearing up for a long effort to support people coming from Afghanistan.
Clothes to help people through a British winter are needed and the charity has found out it will be supporting men, women and children in Manchester.
Toiletries are also being requested.
Care4Calais has doubled its original fund-raising target and now hopes to bring in £60,000 for its welcome packs.
And Clare said refugees from Afghanistan are being sent to three hotels in Manchester, an increase from the two initially announced.
The charity will work with new arrivals to help them sign up with doctors and dentists, navigate the transport system and learn English.
Anyone who wants to help should email [email protected]
What has the Government said?
The Home Office is in the process of setting up the Afghanistan Citizens’ Resettlement Scheme, a new route out of the country for refugees.
It aims to welcome 5,000 Afghans in year one, with up to a total of 20,000 in the long-term.
The Government says it is working to urgently open this route and further details will be announced.
Ministers have already come under fire for not taking more than 20,000 people, while Clare also questioned why it is being spread over a number of years.
“People are in danger right now. Saying they will help someone in a couple of years is no good,” she said.
The Home Office says it aims to focus on resettling those most in need, including women, girls and children who are vulnerable for other reasons.
It recognised there will be significant challenges operating the resettlement scheme but pledged that Britain will be there for those needing support.
The Government says it is also supporting the repatriation of British citizens and their families and has been running the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) since April.
ARAP is for current or former locally employed staff who could be at risk of reprisals having done jobs for Britain.