accessibility & help

UK public show overwhelming generosity towards refugees

15 October 2015

Marie O’Donnell collects for Red Cross Week

English lessons, hundreds of beef sausages and a 40-bedroom hotel in Devon – these are just some of the things people have offered to help refugees.

Over the last month, we have been inundated with offers of support. People are keen to help those caught up in the biggest refugee exodus seen in Europe since the Second World War.

As well as cash donations to our Europe Refugee Crisis Appeal, people have offered time, housing and supplies – from as far south as the Channel Islands to as far north as Orkney.

Holiday homes and flapjacks

So far, the top-five most notable offers you’ve given us are:

  • a 40-bedroom hotel in Devon
  • a holiday home in France
  • seven cubic metres of trainers
  • hundreds of beef sausages
  • 400 flapjacks.

People made these surprising offers via our dedicated helpline, set up to answer questions on how to support refugees. This advice is still available on 0800 107 8727 (free from landlines, with a possible charge from mobile phones).

While we cannot currently accept clothes or other donated items, except for sale in our retail shops, we are working hard to signpost people to organisations that can.

Alex Fraser, head of refugee support, said: “We have been incredibly moved by the number of people who have contacted us. Many have said: ‘I just want to help in whatever way I can.’ It really speaks volumes about the public’s feelings towards people seeking protection.

“We even had one gentleman offer to ask his children to share a bedroom so that he could give shelter to refugees.”

Big business and football fans rally round

Businesses have also backed the refugee crisis appeal. Companies such as Tesco, HSBC, Barclays, GSK, AstraZeneca and Thomas Cook Children’s Charity have together donated hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Friends and fans of Celtic FC in Scotland, the city of Liverpool and the mayor of Liverpool have also helped boost funds.

Members of the British Red Cross Disaster Relief Alliance, Scottish Government, Swire Charities and Isle of Man International Development Committee have given generous contributions, too.

Meanwhile, bucket collections have been held across the country, thanks to organisations including Waitrose and the Ambassador Theatre Group.

Huge thank you

Responding to this tremendous support from businesses and the public alike, Alex Fraser said: “We would like to say a huge thank you to those who have already donated and helped us raise millions of pounds.

“These funds are hugely appreciated and will go towards vital humanitarian work – from supporting destitute asylum seekers in the UK to giving food parcels and medical care to those landing in Greece.”

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