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Giving Afghan refugees a Warm Welcome

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With St Helens Borough Council playing its part in the resettlement of Afghan refugees, the local authority is working with community groups and charities to coordinate a local response to support those in need.

Together with Our Warm Welcome, a St Helens-based charity which supports asylum seekers and refugees in the local community, St Helens Library Service is now accepting food, toiletries, and household cleaning products at all of its 12 sites, in addition to the work carried out for St Helens Food Bank.

You can drop off your donations at Newton Library, Crow Lane East, Newton-le-Willows, WA12 9TU. It is open Monday 10am – 7pm; Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays 10am – 5pm and Saturday 10am – 1pm. You’ll find details of other local libraries at www.sthelens.gov.uk/libraries.

Meanwhile, a text service for residents wishing to donate money has been launched and newly bought sealed clothing or household items can be dropped off at various locations to support Afghan communities resettling in the borough over the coming months.

An appeal close to people’s hearts

Cllr Anthony Burns, Cabinet Member for Wellbeing, Culture and Heritage, said: “Libraries are a lot more than just books – they’re community hubs where people can go to feel safe, and the work staff here do to support the most vulnerable in time of need is phenomenal.

“This is evident though the ongoing support for the local foodbank as well as reaching out to isolated residents during coronavirus lockdowns – and now the Afghan appeal which I know will be close to a lot of hearts.

“Next time you’re visiting your local library, please consider taking some items for this worthy cause. A contribution – no matter how big – can go a long way in helping those with very little.”

Councillor Jeanie Bell, Cabinet Member for Safer, Stronger Communities, said:  “I’m extremely proud of how our borough comes together in times of need – not just for local issues – but those on an international level too, like the situation in Afghanistan which must be a terrifying ordeal for those concerned.

“Projects like this show how much we care to our new neighbours in our communities and epitomises the #StHelensTogether approach which has shone though such a dark 18-months.”

Working together, we can achieve more

Gordon Pennington from Our Warm Welcome said: “As a local charity we have been supporting asylum seekers and refugees placed in the borough for more than five years and we have formed a number of key partnerships across the town.  Over the years the St Helens community has been extremely kind giving donations to help us issue weekly food parcels and household items.

 “We are very proud to be working with St Helens Borough Council in helping our new friends from Afghanistan to resettle here and this new initiative with the St Helens Library Service is a bonus and we ask our wonderful St Helens community to support if they can.  Together, everyone achieves more.”

To donate by text message, text the word OURSTHELENS followed by the amount you want to give to 70085.

Cheques referencing the Afghan appeal can also be made payable to Halton & St Helens Voluntary and Community Action using the following freepost address: 2nd Floor, Beacon Building, College Street, St Helens, Merseyside, WA10 1TF.

Newly bought sealed clothing and household items can be dropped off at 17 Fort Knox Self-Storage Ltd in George Street, St Helens Town Centre – or by contacting Our Warm Welcome by calling 07591 588935 or emailing fortyoww@gmail.com.

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