Bridges for Communities is delighted to be partnering with Bristol City Council to support the resettlement of Afghan families who are fleeing the crisis in their country. On Sunday our team and volunteers hosted a small welcome party in Eastville Park, to get to know some of those who have arrived, to share food, and extend a hand of welcome. It was wonderful to see the children having fun together and very moving to hear the stories and concerns of some of the adults - our thoughts and prayers are certainly with their relatives and loved ones back home who face an uncertain future.
This week, our Director Dan Green attended a meeting with Mayor Marvin Rees and the Council's resettlement team to discuss plans to support Afghan families over the coming months. We've been overwhelmed by the response from Bristolians who are offering their time, resources and love. Over the coming weeks, Bridges will provide training and opportunities for volunteers to meet and support people who are new to the city - please bear with us as it may take some time for us to respond to all of the enquiries, but we will endeavour to contact everyone who has volunteered to help. The most pressing need at this moment is accommodation - if you are able to offer a home for some of those who have arrived but are in temporary accommodation, or if you know of anyone who could, please get in touch with Bristol City Council directly using this link. If you would like to offer practical support or donations, please contact Aid Box Community who do a tremendous job coordinating these.
It's important to say that, alongside our involvement with and support for the resettlement programme, we continue to work with refugees and asylum seekers from all nations, who have arrived in different ways or who have fled conflicts that are no longer receiving news coverage and are therefore less in the public eye. Bristol is a City of Sanctuary for everyone in need of shelter and we want to offer the same level of care to every individual who needs it. While we are thankful for all of the efforts towards resettlement, we have real concerns about the government's Nationality and Borders bill which threatens the UK's longstanding commitment to offering sanctuary for those who are fleeing danger or persecution - click here to find out more. Not everybody fleeing a warzone has the option to access official channels and for those who have arrived alone, afraid and in danger in their own country, we will continue to partner with fantastic organisations in Bristol, such as Bristol Hospitality Network, Bristol Refugee Rights, Borderlands and others to provide support for everybody who needs it.
A huge thank you to everyone who has supported us, the wonderful organisations we have the privilege of partnering with, and the countless volunteers who continue to make Bristol a City of Sanctuary. Stay tuned for future updates.
Date: 9th Sept 2021