12 October 2015
English lessons, hundreds of beef sausages and a 40-bedroom hotel in Devon are just some of the items and services the UK public has offered to donate to extend a helping hand to refugees, according to the British Red Cross.
The last month has seen the Red Cross, which works with refugees and asylum seekers in the UK and overseas, inundated with offers of support from people keen to help those caught up in the biggest refugee exodus seen in Europe since the Second World War.
Offers including cash donations, food and other supplies, accommodation, volunteering and fundraising have come from as far south as the Channel Islands and as far north as Orkney.
The charity listed its top five most notable donations and offers of support as:
1) A 40-bedroom hotel in Devon
2) A holiday home in France
3) Seven cubic metres of trainers
4) Hundreds of beef sausages
5) 400 flapjacks
The offers have been made via a dedicated helpline which was set up by the Red Cross to answer questions on how to support refugees and direct members of the public to the groups and organisation that can best help them to get involved in responding to the refugee crisis. This advice is still available on 0800 107 8727.*
Alex Fraser, Head of Refugee Support at the British Red Cross said: “We have been incredibly moved by the number of people who have contacted us to offer to help refugees in one way or another, many who have literally 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.
“While the Red Cross is currently unable to accept donations of clothes or other items, except for sale in our retail shops, the solidarity has been amazing and we are working hard to match the items and skills people wish to offer with other organisations who may be able to use them more effectively.”
“The best way to support the Red Cross’s work is to donate to our Europe Refugee Crisis Appeal at www.redcross.org.uk/refugeecrisis or 0300 023 0825. We would like to say a huge thank you to those who have already donated and helped us to raise millions of pounds. These funds are hugely appreciated and will go towards vital humanitarian work, ranging from supporting destitute asylum seekers in the UK to food parcels and medical care for those landing in Greece.”
Businesses back appeal
Businesses have also backed the appeal, with companies including Tesco, HSBC, Barclays, GSK, AstraZeneca and Thomas Cook Children’s Charity among those who have together donated hundreds of thousands of pounds.
Members of the British Red Cross Disaster Relief Alliance, the Scottish Government, the Swire Charities, the Isle of Man International Development Committee have also all generously contributed to the appeal.
Friends and fans of Celtic FC in Scotland, the City of Liverpool and the Mayor of Liverpool have raised thousands of pounds, while bucket collections have been held across the country thanks to organisations including Waitrose and Ambassadors Theatre Group.
* To find out more about how to help Syrian refugees, please visit the UK government website.
The British Red Cross helps people in crisis, whoever and wherever they are. We are part of a global voluntary network, responding to conflicts, natural disasters and individual emergencies.
We enable vulnerable people in the UK and abroad to prepare for and withstand emergencies in their own communities. And when the crisis is over, we help them to recover and move on with their lives.
Contact Anna MacSwan on 0207 877 7519 or 07710 391703 (out of hours).