Ottery refugee group launches mattresses fundraiser

Members of Ottery Refugee Response group attended Sidmouth Cook for Syria event.
From l-r it shows

Members of Ottery Refugee Response group attended Sidmouth Cook for Syria event. From l-r it shows Mel Argent (ORR), Meg Leahong (ORR) and Wafaa Alsawadi sitting; Trevor Leahong (ORR), Mazen Alsawadi, Rob Mackenzie (ORR) and Alaa Khattab standing. - Credit: Archant

A fundraiser has been launched to buy bed mattresses for refugee families moving into East Devon.

The Ottery Refugee Response group has set up a donations page for £600 to help buy at least four mattresses to give the families a good night’s sleep.

The money will be donated to help Refugee Support Devon [RSD], which is the official support group that works with refugees as they move into the county.

Ottery Refugee Response has raised more than £1,000 in the past for RSD to put towards household items, through crowdfunding and a donation from its annual Rock for Refugees concert.

Currently the donations page is more than half way to target at £370 but the mattresses can cost anything between £190 and £400 to purchase.

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Trevor Leahong, from the Ottery group, said: “Everybody has a basic need to be able to sleep. It’s been amazing so far but we have to keep stoking the fire. This is to supplement the limited budget available for these households.”

Annette Hughes, manager at RSD, said: “We are very reliant on our 90 volunteers to help us to do this, and are incredibly grateful to other local community groups, such as Ottery Refugee Response, who have been fantastic fundraisers and a source for raising awareness and volunteer recruitment to help refugees in their communities.

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“Much of our work is enabled through restricted grants which, unfortunately, do not allow funds for unplanned or urgent requirements of individuals, therefore donations from the general public and support groups is incredibly important for us to meet the needs of those in hardship.”

East Devon District Council currently supports three families and a fourth family in Ottery has been supported by local group ABIDE under the private sponsorship scheme.

As part of its ongoing work, Ottery Refugee Response is looking to find a tandem pushchair or stroller to donate to one of the refugee families who are expecting a new baby in March. It also has a collection point for the refugee camps at RiO, Station Yard, Exeter Road.

To find out more, email the group at To donate to the mattress fundraiser visit

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