Aid convoy sent to Europe from Fife to aid refugees in crisis

Litlle boy playing with police officer while waiting for a train at train station in Tovarnik.
Litlle boy playing with police officer while waiting for a train at train station in Tovarnik.

The response to heart wrenching images of a humanitarian crisis sparked a mammoth response resulting in bundles of essential aid being sent from Fife.

Co-ordinated by Glenrothes/Fife - Calais Refugee Collection, a group set up by mum-of-two Lauren Ford, who was sickened by the desperate images flooding in from refugee centres, the whole of Fife has rallied to help those most in need.

Lauren Daly and Lewis Cunningham of Glenrothes Calais Refugee Collection with the huge amount of clothing and toiletries that has been donated to the group to help the refugees who have left everything behind to reach a safer life.

Lauren Daly and Lewis Cunningham of Glenrothes Calais Refugee Collection with the huge amount of clothing and toiletries that has been donated to the group to help the refugees who have left everything behind to reach a safer life.

Collection points manned by local businesses and generous communities sprung up across the county, many of which have fed their donations to the Glenrothes group.

Delivering the mountain of collected aid to charity leading a convoy, Edinburgh Cares, Lauren is excited that all the hard work is finally paying off.

“Lewis and I dropped off the last of the items going in this convoy to the Broxburn warehouse on Saturday.”

Edinburgh Cares, in partnership with the Well Foundation, will leave today with basic emergency aid items aiming to help thousands of displaced refugees at the borders of Serbia/Croatia.

Be proud, Fife - no matter how big or small part you played, it all helped to achieve this.

Lauren Daly

“We also received a cash donation which we were able to hand directly to Edinburgh Cares which helped them towards the cost of transport,” said Lauren. “It is amazing how much we have actually given and a massive achievement collecting, sorting and packing.

“Be proud, Fife - no matter how big or small part you played, it all helped to achieve this.”

Bert Thomson, a senior youth worker at Fife Council, went the extra step and has volunteered his services to join a convoy today on its journey across Europe, expected to reach the refugees by Saturday.

Recognising the trip as his duty, he said: “The opportunity presented itself to do this and when you are offered an opportunity such as this, to help people, you have to take it. We are heading for the Hungarian border with Serbia where we will drop the donations and head back to Scotland.

“I said to my daughter if I didn’t go then who would and then it doesn’t get done and people end up suffering.

“I was able to make the time and my fears are overwritten by my need to do this.”

Burntisland, Cupar, Dunfermline and Kirkcaldy also pooled their responses and combined their efforts with the Glenrothes initiative.

According to Lauren there is still a “loads” in the warehouse, which will be sorted, packed and prepared, on Thursday evening, for a final delivery.

“There has been some local negativity from people who have said we should be helping our own first, and although I don’t agree with that sentiment, I think we are all human and deserving of help, the outcome of this effort has been lots of donations not uniquely for refugees.

“It is humbling to know we have been able to help local groups such as Gingerbread, in Levenmouth with much needed clothes for young mums and food, duvets - which could not be sent to Europe - and towels have been gratefully received by Glenrothes foodbank.”