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City MP joins ‘inspirational’ veteran’s community effort for Afghan evacuees

Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan paid a visit to veteran community organisation Ems4Afghans ahead of Remembrance Sunday.

The volunteer-led organisation, founded by Emsworth RAF veteran Matt Simmons, was set up in the wake of the Afghanistan crisis to support those being evacuated with clothes, toiletries and other essential items.

The Shadow Armed Forces Minister joined the sorting of incoming donations at the group’s hub in Fareham with volunteers.

Earlier this week, Mr Morgan visited a bridging hotel where Afghans who supported British forces are being housed temporarily to give out ‘winter packs’ of coats, scarves, hats and gloves as the weather turns colder.

As well as basic needs like winter clothes, the Shadow Armed Forces Minister also raised concerns that the Home Office was yet to process their immigration paperwork.

Without confirmation of the Indefinite Leave to Remain promised by the government, ARAP evacuees face difficulties in accessing work, housing and essential services.

The separate Afghan citizens’ resettlement scheme has still not yet been launched.

On Tuesday, Ems4Afghans volunteer and RAF veteran Melanie Clark helped deliver an Afghan refugee’s baby in one of the bridging hotels.

Portsmouth South MP and Shadow Armed Forces Minister Stephen Morgan said:

“Matt has led an inspirational group of local veterans to support those Afghan nationals who bravely backed British forces during their deployment.

“Their sense of duty to those who served alongside them represents the best of our forces, and I want to pay tribute to them as we mark Remembrance.

“Unfortunately, ARAP evacuees and their families – who have already suffered immense hardship – now find themselves at the mercy of a postcode lottery of support and constrained by a cliff edge on their immigration status.

“Councils, charities like Ems4Afghans and voluntary organisations are doing their best on the ground. But Ministers must deliver clear and consistent pathways for the support offered through Operation Warm Welcome if they are to keep the promises they have made to those who bravely supported our forces.”

Ems4Afghans founder Matt Simmons said:

“The initial crisis support we offered was so important, with those fleeing for their lives coming to the UK with nothing but the clothes they were wearing.

“It’s more than that though. For me starting Ems4Afghans was about building relationships and being a bridge between communities where we can do great work in the future in resettlement – education, jobs.

“I wanted to make them feel welcome. We have a sense of duty as they worked alongside British forces.”

To donate to the indicative and help Afghan families click here