Our thoughts go out to the families and individuals in Afghanistan affected by the current humanitarian crisis that is unfolding in the country. Bedford Borough Council is fully supportive of the Government’s commitment to resettle Afghan refugees in the UK and we stand ready to welcome them and support them. Bedford Borough is a place that welcomes refugees, and we are ready to support Afghans in their time of need, providing shelter and safety, and helping them to rebuild their lives. What you can do to help If you want to help, you can do so by donating or volunteering through the following charities. You can also help by making any families that are relocated in your neighbourhood feel welcome and supported. Make a donation Cash donations are the fastest, most efficient way to get help to vulnerable people. Cash donations enable relief agencies to cater to the specific needs of the affected population as quickly as possible. They also allow relief agencies to buy goods in the affected region, helping to regenerate the local economy. British Red Cross Refugees at Home UN Refugee Agency Unicef Save the Children Refugee Council Donating clothes, books and toys Clothes, books, toys etc can be donated to British Red Cross charity shops, Save the Children charity shops and Oxfam charity shops. The items won’t go directly to child refugees, but the money raised helps charities to support them. Volunteer Several charities and organisations are working with refugees across the UK. Visit the National Council for Voluntary Organisations to find out more about volunteering opportunities. We will add more information about ways people can support to this page as it becomes available. Offer accommodation In recognition of the challenges around sourcing accommodation, the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has launched a portal for pledges of offers of homes to accommodate refugees. This enables property owners, organisations, companies and individuals to register support via the website so no offers are missed. To contribute something other than entire homes, for example, fostering or donations, visit the Help refugees who have come to the UK page. Bedford Borough Council is also asking local landlords to get in touch directly if they have any empty properties available to let. The properties will need to be in good condition, ready for people to move in within the next few week. Landlords can expect to receive market rent, or a one-off incentive should they be willing to accept rents at Local Housing Allowance rates. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have a property to let that is sitting empty.