Bridlington church leaders in plea to council over Afghanistan refugees

Church leaders from across Bridlington are urging East Riding of Yorkshire Council and Sir Greg Knight to step up and offer help to refugees from Afghanistan.
Rev Richard Townend said that the churches in Bridlington would be able to offer support to refugees.Rev Richard Townend said that the churches in Bridlington would be able to offer support to refugees.
Rev Richard Townend said that the churches in Bridlington would be able to offer support to refugees.

They are calling on the council to be big-hearted, ambitious, and imaginative in catering for the needs of those seeking refuge from Afghanistan while offering their support to any potential new arrivals.

The leaders also called upon Bridlington’s MP Sir Greg Knight to challenge the Government over its pledge to accept 20,000 refugees as part of the Afghan citizen’s resettlement scheme.

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Rev Richard Townend, at Emmanuel Church in Bridlington and All Saints, Barmston, said: “Although we have asked the council and Sir Greg Knight to make a difference to refugees from Afghanistan we are also making it clear that we are here to help once a decision is made. We have the volunteers, food bank and other facilities that could help.

“The move to call for more support for refugees came from the recent 24/7 Prayer rota for the Afghan refugees.

“People from churches across town filled the prayer slots and afterwards we thought we needed to do more. We are blessed in this region and could offer some kind of package for the refugees.”

In the open letter the leaders said: “We acknowledge that our area already faces some housing issues. However, as Christians and UK citizens, we feel that we have a moral duty to throw open the doors of welcome. Even though the intention of our presence in Afghanistan was to make the world a better place, we all shoulder responsibility to clear up the mess that has been left behind.

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“In the past 20 years, servicemen from our region have served and suffered in protecting the lives of Afghan citizens.

“In solidarity with our brave forces, it is only right that we offer the hand of friendship to those same citizens in their desperate hour of need.

“In years to come, when we look back at this political and humanitarian tragedy, wouldn’t it be better to say that we committed fully and whole-heartedly to help the foreigner in desperate need?

“We believe that this is the right course of action for our county and our country to take at this time, and on behalf of the churches we represent, we would like to offer whatever assistance we can in providing food, clothing and friendship to those settling in our communities.”

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The open letter concluded: “While we agree that other nations should also step in and step up their commitment to resettle Afghans, this situation provides a great opportunity for the UK to show the world its generosity and hospitality.

“We are blessed in our town with an abundance of holiday accommodation – could some of this be repurposed in the winter season?