Call to help region’s aid get to neediest

SBBN-24-09-15 Refugee crisis eyemouth primary school pupil Livi Hamilton

SBBN-24-09-15 Refugee crisis eyemouth primary school pupil Livi Hamilton

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Borderers have continued to give generously to help assuage the current refugee crisis, and now the call has gone out for help getting aid to those who need it most.

Borders Aid Syria have been collecting donations at pick-up points in Greenlaw and Eyemouth, and have, according to organiser James Anderson, been “very lucky” to receive backing from the region’s MPs and an offer of warehouse space from Jim Vanko.

However, he added that more space is needed to store donations before convoys from Scotland start heading to refugee camps in the north of Syria later this month.

Anyone with space to spare can contact Borders Aid Syria through their Facebook page.

On the other hand, Borders 2 Calais, an aid effort organised by Coldstream’s Barrie Cunning and run in cooperation with BA,is looking for people to give up a little of their time and help drive a van loaded with donations to the camps at Calais, France.

Cunning said this week: “The response to the fundraising page so far (www. crowdfunding.justgiving.com/Borders2Calais) has been fantastic.

“The aim is to take all the donations down to Calais on around October 16. Of course, if someone is willing to help me do that it would be fantastic and we can arrange timings and things to suit.”

He added that, as with BAS, the priority is to provide refugees with warm clothes to avoid them being caught out by the coming cold weather.

“Hopefully, the public response, which has been amazing, can spur on the politicians to actually do something,” he said.

Meanwhile, Scottish Borders Council (SBC) continues to work with social landlords to plan for the resettlement of Syrian refugees.

Council officers are liaising with COSLA and the Home Office with a view to taking part in UK and Scottish Government programmes to resettle refugees from camps in the Middle East.

Councillor Frances Renton, executive member for social work and housing, said: “Officers are working very closely in partnership with local registered social landlords, who have been very supportive, to establish what help the Scottish Borders can provide to Syrian refugees.

“We appreciate the very kind offers of support we have received already from local residents, however at this time we are only able to maintain a register of these offers and are not in a position to resettle any refugees.

“The council and partners are fully committed to assisting with the UK and Scottish Government’s Syrian refugee schemes and I am confident that in due course we will play our part in resettling refugees here in the Scottish Borders.”