More volunteers needed as Havering rallies around Afghan refugees

Afghan relief effort

Havering Volunteer Centre has put a call out for more help after being inundated with donations to help Afghan refugees. - Credit: PA

Havering Volunteer Centre has appealed for more helpers after being inundated with donations for Afghan refugees arriving in the UK.

The donation appeal - launched this week in partnership with Havering Council - has been met with such overwhelming support that extra help is needed at the volunteering centre (HVC).

Chief executive Shelley Hart told the Recorder: "When the Afghan crisis happened we (the Voluntary and Community Sector Emergencies Partnership) got together as a collective to discuss what we could do.

"Since announcing the drop-off point, the amount of support we’ve had from the local community has been phenomenal. Honestly, there's been an outpouring."

The drop-off site was open yesterday - Thursday (September 2) - and is open again today between 10am-5pm. 

Such is the level of support that Shelley needs more volunteers to help sort the donations for their onward journey to people in need across London.

"We've received so much more than we bargained for. Anyone who can lend a hand would be so welcome," she said.

Havering Volunteer Centre Afghani relief effort

Volunteers at the Havering Volunteer Centre assisting in the effort to help Afghan refugees who have recently arrived in the UK. - Credit: Shelley Hart

Despite years of experience in managing local volunteering efforts, Shelley admits even she has been surprised by how people have rallied.

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“I've been blown away by the response; by the number of donations we've received and by the amount of people who have come forward to help.

"Everyone dropping off donations has said they want the Afghan refugees to know the people of Havering are behind them.

"And the volunteers - we’ve got two young people here who are on the last day of their holidays. Amazing! The generosity in Havering is incredible."

The chief executive also wished to give "kudos" to the council, which provided the high street unit free of charge.

Such is the response that there may be further drop-off days, details on which will be released in due course.

Shelley had one final request - water donations for hard-working volunteers.

Those donations can be left at the drop-off site, or at the HVC office a few doors up.

Anyone who wishes to volunteer is asked to contact shelley.hart@haveringvc.org.uk.

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