Local support continues for refugees

A picture sent to the group from Greece after local donations arrived in Samos.
A picture sent to the group from Greece after local donations arrived in Samos.

Syrian families taking up residence in Lanarkshire have received a supportive boost from the now renowned Wishaw to Calais group.

As reported in the Times & Speaker, the group formed in response to the refugee crisis, and quickly snowballed from a small team of friends to a county-wide effort.

Having taken lorry-loads of essential items to camps in Calais, the group has now turned its attention to assisting refugees who have been offered the chance of a new life in Lanarkshire.

The team has been working with North Lanarkshire Council to kit out accommodation with household items and food, with help from the Basics Food Bank.

Wishaw to Calais volunteers have also been shipping local donations to those in need in Greece.

The group’s Peter McDade said: “Last week was a brilliant week for the group. On Tuesday we received an e-mail with pictures and details of our donations arriving on the Greek island of Samos.

“The gratitude expressed was really humbling and hearing first hand of the relief it brought to very desperate people was fantastic.

“On Wednesday we were part of a voluntary team who went round North Lanarkshire filling the houses of the refugees who arrived on Thursday.

“We’re particularly proud to have helped North Lanarkshire Council and the Basics Food Bank because they have both been exemplary on the refugee issue.”

Duncan Mackay, head of housing and social work services at NLC, said: “The Wishaw to Calais group deserve great commendation for their tireless efforts. They have driven van loads of essential items to refugees in Calais and helped with the resettlement of Syrian refugees here in North Lanarkshire.

“We are all extremely grateful for everything they have done and hope that we can continue to work in partnership in the months and years ahead.”