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Local Afghan evacuees presented with ‘Hug in a Bag’ at welcome event hosted by Portsmouth MP

Stephen Morgan MP joined local Labour councillors on Saturday to present evacuated Afghan families living in Portsmouth with a ‘Hug in a Bag’ to welcome them to the city.

Local Afghan evacuees were given Portsmouth themed goods donated by local people as a small gesture to help them settle into the community.

Organised by the Portsmouth Labour Party, local residents were invited to donate a range of welcome gifts to ‘Hug in a Bag’ to support Afghan families seeking sanctuary in the city. Donations included handmade quilts and other household items.

Local shops Pigeon books, Southsea Bathing Hut, Herbies Health Food Store also supported the scheme, acting as community hubs for those wishing to donate their welcome presents, or cash towards gifts handpicked by the high-street business owners.

Together the three stores received a total of £570 in donations from the community, including cash they donated themselves.

Labour member, Laura Watford, said:

“We felt the 3 shops involved in ‘Hug in a Bag’ all sold luxury Portsmouth themed items that we could add to the bag. They have been super supportive and have helped us pick some beautiful items for the bags. 

“If this model works then there’s no reason why we couldn’t replicate it in the future for more refugee families in Portsmouth. 

“As a group we are very proud of the money we have raised – over £570.

The Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, added:

I am grateful to local people for their generosity in supporting Afghan families seeking sanctuary in Portsmouth. Once again I would like to thank those settling in our city for their work in supporting the British armed forces, and it has been a pleasure to welcome them as new constituents.

“Community-led projects like ‘Hug in a Bag’ are a shining example of the strength of our city coming together to support each other.

“These families have gone through an incredibly difficult time, and after supporting our servicemen and women, it’s only right we welcome them with open arms and help them settle in as best we can.”