Call for community volunteers to help Syrian refugees

PUBLISHED: 09:08 02 December 2015 | UPDATED: 09:08 02 December 2015

Volunteers help around 150 refugees and migrants, mostly from Syria and Iraq, to disembark from a vessel after their arrival from the Turkish coast to the northeastern Greek island of Lesbos, on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015. Authorities in northwestern Turkey on Monday rounded up some 1,300 asylum seekers and migrants allegedly preparing to make their way into Greece. (AP Photo/Santi Palacios)

Volunteers help around 150 refugees and migrants, mostly from Syria and Iraq, to disembark from a vessel after their arrival from the Turkish coast to the northeastern Greek island of Lesbos, on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015. Authorities in northwestern Turkey on Monday rounded up some 1,300 asylum seekers and migrants allegedly preparing to make their way into Greece. (AP Photo/Santi Palacios)

Grass-roots efforts to assist refugee families fleeing war-torn Syria are under way in Ottery - but more help is needed.

A group seeking to support displaced people say supplies in the refugee camps are getting very low. They are collecting donations of vital supplies to be sent to Calais and are hoping for community involvement in sorting through items.

Members have commended a government pledge to resettle 20,000 refugees from Syria over the next five years, but are in the process of lobbying MPs to take in more vulnerable people.

At a meeting on Wednesday, group member Angela O’Reilly said: “People can take donations to RIO, but space to store things there is short, so I was trying to get an agreement from Devon County Council to let us have temporary use of the cabins behind St Saviours.

“If we could get somewhere to sort stuff, then people could get involved in sorting it and that would show it is a community effort.” She said insurance needs to be sorted out, but county councillor Claire Wright has offered help.

A ‘tent event’ is planned for Saturday, December 11, to raise awareness and get more involvement from people. This will take place in the garden of 3 Hind Street, where information will be available. To find out more and for a full list of items that can be donated, visit the ‘Ottery St Mary Refugee Response Group’ page on Facebook.

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