DUDLEY'S former council leader has called for donations for Afghan refugees brought over to the UK following America's withdrawal of US troops.

Councillor Pete Lowe has been working with community leaders across the borough to collect donations over the last two weeks as troops began their withdrawal, and instability in the country began to escalate.

He said he has been “overwhelmed” by the response received from people across Stourbridge and the Dudley borough and that more than 500 people signed up in just 48 hours to a new 'Dudley Afghan refugee support' Facebook group set up to help.

He said: "It is fantastic to see people concentrate on hope over hate.

“Our online group is almost 1,000 strong and there is still so much to do. So many refugees still need basic food and clothing to help them get started in the UK.

“I have been working with Councillor Mohammed Hanif and local community champions Emma Fitzgerald and Lee Salton-McLaughlin and Salma Foodbank in Smethwick over the last two weeks to scale up our operation, so we’re ready to take on more donations and help more people.”

Emma added: “We’re now making an appeal to anyone who is able to make a donation, for example, with any dried food at home that they do not want, clothes, toys or other household basics to donate.

"We have a shop in Cradley Heath who will be accepting donations from later this week and volunteers who have already stepped up to sort out and deliver.”

Lee said: “It's fantastic working with Pete and Emma again, building upon what we have achieved in the Stourbridge coronavirus group over the last year and now responding to this international crisis.

“Please give anything you can to help us help others when they most need it.”

People can find donation drop-off details for Pete Lowe, Emma Fitzgerald or Lee Salton McLaughlin on the Dudley Afghan refugee support Facebook group - https://www.facebook.com/groups/581622993011237.