Surge of local support for refugees in crisis

Claire, Steven and Ian at the collection point in Cupar for the Cupar / Fife Calais Refugee Collection. Photo: Steven Brown
Claire, Steven and Ian at the collection point in Cupar for the Cupar / Fife Calais Refugee Collection. Photo: Steven Brown

Kind-hearted people in north east Fife and Kinross-shire moved by the growing refugee crisis have been rallying round to help.

Collection points set up specially for donations to help ease the refugees’ plight have been swamped with goods ranging from tents to toothbrushes.

In Cupar, funeral director Steven Stewart has set up a collection point in his Bonnygate premises on behalf of Cupar Fife Refugee Collection, established by local mum Claire Logan to help families in Calais and Kos.

Claire (32) has teamed up with baby sling specialist Emma Gilmour to organise a collection of much-needed baby clothes and equipment heading to the Greek island of Kos next Friday, September 18.

Anyone who would like to contribute can drop off items at Steven Stewart’s premises.

Claire and her friend Nicki Bradwell are also spearheading operations in Cupar in conjunction with the organisers of the Glenrothes Calais Collection.

Claire’s dad Ian Hood retired just this week but he won’t be taking it easy any time soon - he’s driving a lorry load of donations to London and, if necessary, all the way to Calais , where thousands of people displaced from war-torn and poverty-stricken countries are living in a makeshift town that has become known as ‘the jungle.’

“Being mum to a wee boy of almost two and seeing the picture of the little Syrian boy washed up on the beach really brought home to me how heartbreaking the situation is,” said Claire.

“At present the people in Calais need a lot more items for men such as waterproofs and winter shoes, but we’re asking people to really think about what they donate .

“They don’t want someone’s cast-off work suit - these people are human beings like us and we must treat them with dignity and respect.

“They need things like top-ups for their phones; chargers, European adaptors and dictionaries as well as necessities such as nappies, razors, soap and sanitary towels.”

Meanwhile, in Kinross, businessman Daniel Webster’s storage facility in the town’s high street is open seven days a week for donations to be taken to Calais.

Kinross mum Danielle Ramage (27) who has three young daughters, was instrumental in setting up the Kinross effort after also being deeply affected by the image of three-year-old Aylan Kurdi.

She said: “I just couldn’t sit back and do nothing so I posted on Facebook and within minutes I was inundated with offers of help.

“The response from local people has been amazing and I’m overwhelmed by the way the local community is coming together to help.

“As Webster’s has storage facilities and is going to help with transport we’re now joining forces to make it one big community effort.

“The refugees are in desperate need of tents, tarpaulins, lighting equipment, candles , gas lamps and so on - and as a mum myself I think it would be good to send things to occupy the children, such as pencils, toys and colouring books.”

Both Fife and Perth and Kinross councils have pledged their support for the humanitarian effort. Fife Council leader David Ross said this week that the local authority was actively considering how many refugees it could accommodate, while Perth and Kinross Council is preparing to take in a number of Syrian families.