Afghan refugees begin new lives in Milton Keynes

  • Watch a report by ITV News Anglia's Sarah Cooper

A refugee who fled the Taliban in Afghanistan says the UK "is our country now", as his family seeks to start a new life in the Anglia region.

Nazir left Kabul a month ago having been told he could move to the UK due to his time working as an interpreter for British forces from 2009 to 2012.

After quarantining for 10 days, he is now living in a hotel in Newport Pagnell with his wife and seven children.

He said they had been welcomed with open arms by the community.

"I was aware of this warm welcome from the British people because I was with them for three years," he said. "They were very good people with me back in Afghanistan. But for my children, this was a totally new thing for them."

Today, that warm welcome included a chance for three of Nazir's children to choose some toys from donations made at Newport Pagnell Baptist Church.

Hundreds of bags, including shoes and clothes, have begun piling up at donation centres across the region as community groups help families settle into their new lives.

Hundreds of bags of donations have been given to help refugees from Afghanistan Credit: ITV News ANglia

More than 200 Afghans have arrived in Newport Pagnell in recent weeks, with many more expected to join communities across the region. Milton Keynes alone is helping nearly 1,000 refugees.

Steve Wood, Minister at Newport Pagnell Baptist Church, said it was important to give the families some control over their lives by inviting them in to choose the items they needed.

"We felt very early on that it was very important that we gave some dignity to these families who have literally been picked up from one part of the world and dropped somewhere else," he said.

Nazir said he could see how happy his children were as they played with their new toys.

But that does not stop him worrying about the family he has had to leave behind.

He has asked for his face not to be shown during interviews because he fears it could endanger his relatives.

"My relatives back in Afghanistan are not safe," he said. "They feel no security. They are concerned about their future. They are being intimidated. They are being threatened. They are being warned, asked about us and where we are."

Families like Nazir's know it will take time for them to feel totally safe again, but they are ready to make the UK their home and finally feel positive about the future.