Surrey County Council (SCC) are detailing ways people in the county can help those fleeing the ongoing turmoil in Afghanistan.

On Friday (August 27), a statement posted on the SCC website described Surrey as a "welcoming" county and pointed residents to a number of options

It also described how three borough councils (including Elmbridge) had pledged to resettle refugee families from Afghanistan.

"Agencies across Surrey are currently helping with the repatriation of Afghan migrants to the UK. Surrey is a welcoming county, and several local boroughs have already opened their doors to help house individuals and families fleeing to the UK. Surrey County Council is also working closely with District and Boroughs, health providers, the voluntary and charity sector, other local partners and central government to ensure families can be resettled safely," a spokesperson said.

SCC pointed out that after Afghan refugee families arrive, wider concerns regarding their health, amenities and intergration would need to be addressed.

They asked for financial donations in this regard from residents, to be made to the The Community Foundation for Surrey who are helping organize the financial relief effort in the county.

Meanwhile, at least four borough councils, namely Surrey Heath, Elmbridge, Woking and Spelthorne, have all said they would help resettle refugees from the war-torn country.

In a statement announcing their plans to resettle at least three Afghan refugee families, the borough council in Elmbridge, where Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab's Esher and Walton constituency rests, said:

"Elmbridge Borough Council is making an urgent appeal to landlords to help fulfil its pledge to house Afghans who have supported the UK in Afghanistan.

"We have pledged to resettle three families under the government’s Afghan Locally Employed Staff (LES) Relocation Scheme. Elmbridge has previously resettled a number of Syrian refugee families under another government scheme and is now set to assist Afghans who have supported the UK military in Afghanistan, while putting themselves and their families at considerable risk.

"We are seeking one, two or three-bedroom properties in Elmbridge that are ready to rent out ideally within the next two months for at least 12 months. Private landlords who would like to help are encouraged to get in touch as soon as possible."

The council also highlighted the various benefits on offer to landlords who agree to join them in helping resettle families fleeing Afghanistan:

"As well as providing much needed homes, the scheme has a number of benefits including rent guarantees for landlords, including:

  • support to ensure that the tenancy runs smoothly
  • a deposit equivalent to one month’s rent
  • a rent guarantee for up to a year
  • help with tenancy set-up (such as drafting the tenancy agreement and furnishing the property, where appropriate)
  • help with covering void costs..."

Councillor Neil Houston, Portfolio Holder for Housing, said: "We are committed to our pledge to resettle three families and we will be working with organisations like Elmbridge CAN (a local charity) to provide support to the families for up to a year after their arrival - from help with medical needs and arranging English lessons to setting up bank accounts and finding jobs. If you think you could help with a property in Elmbridge, please do consider signing up to the relocation scheme and help these families build a new life in our borough."

The Red Cross are also managing donations for the ongoing relief efforts for the people of Afghanistan. Click here for more information and how to donate.