AFGHAN nationals who are being housed temporarily at an army camp in Chickerell have arrived with very few possessions and are in desperate need of clothes and items for children.

As previously reported, Chickerell Camp is being used to temporarily house families of Afghan nationals who worked with or for the British Armed Forces and other Government departments throughout operations in Afghanistan.

This resettlement is part of the MoD’s ARAP Scheme – Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy. 

This weekend saw the arrival of the first residents, a high number of those who arrived are very small children.

It is reported that the families have moved in with very few possessions.

Their flights from Pakistan did not allow them to bring many items, and most had few to start with.

Chickerell Town Council and Weymouth Town Council are now working with local groups to appeal for items to be donated to the families.

The councils are working alongside The Weymouth & Portland Lions Club, The Weymouth Veterans Hub and The Weymouth Rotary Club.

Chickerell Town Council’s Mayor, Councillor Mike Jolliffe, said: “Chickerell Town Council is working with Chickerell Army Camp to identify items that are needed by the families to make them more comfortable. 

"We are also working with our local community group, Spirit of Chickerell, who are purchasing 5-a-side football goals and cricket sets for the older children. 

"These will stay at the camp for the duration of the scheme."  

Councillor Kate Wheller, Mayor of Weymouth said: "These people have come over in such a difficult situation.

"They have come with only as much as they could carry with them.

"They have very little and the children don't have very much in terms of clothes.

"The Ministry of Defence have pulled out all the stops to make it as welcoming as possible, but it is still an army camp at the end of the day."

Cllr Ryan Hope, President of the Weymouth & Portland Lions Club said: “We are seeking donations of new or pre-loved warm clothes (adult women/men’s and children), coats, shoes and toys both to gift to the families who are currently housed in the camp.

"We want to build up a stock to ensure that the next set of families who arrive have items ready there to welcome them.”

Andy Price of the Weymouth Veterans Hub added: “We understand that Christmas can be a  difficult time and many families have already gifted to local charities.

"However if you have something you can gift to these families it will support them during their short stay here in Dorset before they are rehomed and given the opportunity to re-build their lives after the service they gave to our country."

Donations of warm clothes, coats, shoes or good condition toys can be dropped off at Chickerell Town Council’s Offices, Willowbed Hall, 39 Putton Lane, Chickerell, DT3 4PB during the hours of 9.30am and noon.  

Donations can also be dropped off at The Veterans Hub between 10am and 2pm from Monday to Saturday (Closed Boxing Day).