Opinion: As Afghan refugees arrive, this is my message to those who say ‘put our own first’

Earlier this week, I wrote an opinion piece supporting the scheme to resettle Afghan refugees who are fleeing the Taliban.

Saturday, 21st August 2021, 12:55 pm

The column was posted on our Facebook page and it generated many comments, all of which I read.

Some people said ‘we should put our own first’ – like veterans and the homeless.

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Afghan people sit inside a US military aircraft to leave Afghanistan. Picture by Shakib Rahmani/Getty.

I’d respectfully point out that it is possible to offer support simultaneously to various different groups of human beings who are in need.

As Afghan refugees arrive in the UK, there is, quite rightly, help for the nation’s veterans.

I’ve written a number of stories about STAND TO, an amazing charity based in Chesterfield which supports ex-forces personnel across the county.

It’s one of many wonderful charities and organisations out there providing assistance to veterans.

The event offered information and support on a number of things such as health and well-being, housing and re-employment

One veteran told me: “A lot of veterans keep quiet about things and don’t seek help – but there is so much support for them out there.”

The event has taken place for the last seven years and it will be held again – when we know exactly when, the Derbyshire Times will, of course, publicise details.

In terms of support for the homeless, there is Pathways of Chesterfield, an amazing service for those without a roof over their heads.

Pathways, like so many charities, needs our support.

I’ve previously donated to Pathways – and this week I’ve also donated to UNICEF’s emergency appeal to help those in need in Afghanistan.

Charity can begin at home – and charity can also extend to places around the globe we’ll probably never visit and to people we’ll likely never meet.

It’s also important to point out that Chesterfield Borough Council – which has helped to house homeless people during the pandemic – has a homelessness prevention team which can be contacted on 01246 345825.

So to those who say ‘we should put our own first’, how about instead saying ‘we should offer help to everyone who’s in need where we can’.

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