Potters Bar Afghan refugee appeal success is 'humbling and astounding'

Afghan appeal volunteers at Oakmere Youth and Community Centre in Potters Bar.

Afghan appeal volunteers at Oakmere Youth and Community Centre in Potters Bar. - Credit: Hertsmere Labour Party

An appeal in aid of Afghan refugees launched in Potters Bar has proved a massive success.

Three collection points were arranged to collect new or good quality items for those families from Afghanistan living in temporary accommodation in Hertsmere, including Oakmere Youth and Community Centre in Potters Bar.

The initiative was devised by Hertsmere Labour Party, who asked residents to bring what they could to one of the points, volunteers would receive and sort the donated items. 

Items that were requested included baby, kids and adults clothes, stationary, books (early education especially), toys and outdoor playing equipment for children, and local residents stepped up in a big way, with thousands of items donated.

Cllr Chris Myers, who was one of the organisers at the Potters Bar collection point, said: "We all have a duty to look after those suffering as a consequence of this dreadful humanitarian crisis.

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"Everyone has seen these horrendous events play out on the news, but it's so often the case that we forget that behind every news item are millions of people whose lives have been directly affected. We have been able to play our part this week as a constituency that prides itself on our community spirit, and collected what we can to make a difference."

Cllr Christian Gray added: "I have been humbled and astounded in equal measure this week. Having met so many of our residents who stand ready to donate to this cause completely selflessly.

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"A moment that sticks in my mind was a conversation with a young resident who arrived with an incredible amount of stuff she had been a bought specifically to donate. She explained to me that her grandfather was a refugee to the UK so this cause really struck a chord with her, it is fair to say we were both in tears by the time the she left."

Dozens of volunteers attended across the three days and sorted hundreds of bags of donated items. Cllr Michelle Vince, who coordinated a collection in Borehamwood, has been in direct contact with the families currently staying in Hertsmere since their arrival, ensuring volunteers were able to respond directly to their requests, supplying items they need as they ask for them.

All items will either go to Afghan refugee families or raise money towards a related charity.

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