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Afghan Refugees who worked for the UK can stay permanently



In a recent announcement from the Home Office, Afghan refugees who worked for the British military and the UK government will be able to make the UK their permanent home.

The previous offer to those eligible was a five-year residency, but that has since been extended.

Since 13 August, the UK evacuated upwards of 8,000 people who were all eligible for the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy.

However, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab couldn’t give a “definitive” figure for the number of Afghans that, despite being eligible to seek refuge in the UK, still remained in Afghanistan.

Despite efforts to evacuate as many Afghans as possible from the Taliban’s cruel regime back in Afghanistan, the Labour party insisted that more needed to be done for those left behind, as they were still at high risk.

After the Taliban took back control of the country two decades after they were exiled by the US, over 5.7 million people have been forced to evacuate their homes.

An Afghan man, who was authorised to fly to the UK but was unable to do so because of the commotion, has shared his experience with us.

“I’m currently in hell right now.

“In the past two weeks I’ve moved to 15 safe houses with my family because the Taliban are trying to find me.

“It’s not just me, it’s hundreds of people who’ve worked for the government, the media, the NGOs, human rights defenders – everyone is currently hiding in different places waiting to see when their turn will come.”

For those that have been able to flee the country, the Home Office has announced a plan named Operation Warm Welcome, and are ensuring that Afghans will receive the necessary help to start rebuilding their lives in the UK.

A refugee, whose name is not being used for confidentiality reasons, arrived in Heathrow from Kabul with his wife and six children in July, and spoke up about the challenges he has faced so far.

“We have been living in hostels for quite a while now in larger groups and it’s becoming tougher and tougher, so it’s time for us to move to a proper house… That is the overarching concern we are having, because we can’t have a bank account.” He said.

Boris Johnson has said that the UK owes a massive debt to those in Afghanistan who had worked with the armed forces, and he is “determined that we give them and their families the support they need to rebuild their lives here in the UK.”

“I know this will be an incredibly daunting time, but I hope they will take heart from the wave of support and generosity already expressed by the British public.”


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Tyne Bridge to Close for Several Weeks for £41m Restoration



Several weeks of overnight closures are planned in order to allow engineers to assess how bad a state the Tyne Bridge is in, before it can be restored to its former glory.

The long-overdue restoration is estimated to cost £41m in order to restore the bridge and refurbish the Central Motorway.

According to a local authority report, the inspection is expected to require the famous crossing to be closed from 10pm to 6am from June 13 to July 1. A number of roads underneath the bridge on the Newcastle Quayside are also due to be affected by the works – with closures due between May 16 and June 10 on Quayside, Lombard Street, Queen Street, and Akenside Hill from 8pm to 6am.

A Newcastle City Council spokesperson said: “We submitted a bid for £41.4 million to Government which, if approved, will enable a four-year maintenance programme for the Tyne Bridge and the Central Motorway to go ahead. As part of the funding process, we are required to carry out some initial works on the Tyne Bridge.

“This includes a full inspection of the bridge, so we can assess its condition and the scale of works required to finalise the costings and project plans to fully restore and refurbish this major structure. This needs to be completed ahead of funding being approved.

“As we need to inspect the entire span of the bridge, overnight closures may be required on the bridge and roads underneath it, so engineers can complete this work safely. Details on the programming are being finalised.”

The Tyne Bridge has not had any major maintenance for two decades and its much-needed refurbishment has been at the top of council officials’ to do list for years, in the hope of ensuring it is looking its best once again by its 100th birthday in 2028. However, it has been warned that the grade II* listed structure may have deteriorated into a worse condition than currently known and council bosses have warned that, like on other major projects like the Grainger Market’s roof repairs, the refurbishment may take longer than expected.”

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Seaburn and Roker Beaches Named Best Beaches in the Country in 2022



Sunderland’s beaches have been named among the best in the country for the 11th year running.

Seaburn and Roker were both named as winners of the Seaside Award by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy. The pair were once again handed Blue Flags, marking them out for their for their excellent water quality, cleanliness and attempts to constantly improve visitor amenities.

The Blue Flag awards, now in their 35th year, are issued by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy and act as ‘a quality mark so visitors can be sure the beaches boast top-notch facilities and meet the highest environmental standards’.

Linda Williams, Sunderland City Council’s cabinet member for Vibrant City, said: “It is fantastic to see Sunderland’s beautiful beaches once again awarded the prestigious Blue Flag and Seaside Award.

“Flying these flags at Roker and Seaburn shows everyone who visits that our seafront has excellent quality bathing water and first-class facilities.

“We’re very lucky to have fantastic beaches with beautiful, clean water to swim and bathe in, and this national recognition is testament to the hard work of everyone involved in keeping our beaches clean, tidy and well-maintained.”

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Best of North East

Best Children Activities in the North East



Looking for a way to entertain the kids for the day? Well, lucky for you, we have rounded up the best children activities in the North East.


Whitehouse Farm Centre

From donkeys and pigs to mice and rabbits, expect to meet all your favourite farm animals and more! Whitehouse Farm is also home to striped skunks, marmoset monkeys, harris hawks, bearded dragons, curly haired tarantulas – the list could go on and on. We won’t tell you them all, so there’s still plenty to be surprised by. However, we can’t resist telling you, you are in for a treat as you will even have the chance to handle and feed the animals!

Credit: Whitehouse Farm Facebook

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