Borderers rally to help refugees

Vanessa Reith and Yasmin Sonkur surrounded by donations for refugees. Picture: Derick Thomson
Vanessa Reith and Yasmin Sonkur surrounded by donations for refugees. Picture: Derick Thomson

The region’s response to the refugee crisis has continued apace, with Borderers in action ranging from aid collections to EU council meetings.

SNP MSP Paul Wheelhouse, from Ayton, attended an emergency meeting of the EU Justice and Home Affairs Council, to discuss the crisis.

He tweeted that the meeting was likely to be “tense”, but that he hoped: “agreement can be reached so Member States, together, deliver package of measures that support refugees - founded on kindness & dignity.”

And Conservative MSP John Lamont made a speech in the Scottish Parliament calling for more to be done to tackle the crisis.

He said: ““The whole country has been deeply moved by the ongoing crisis and heart-breaking coverage of the Syrian crisis.

“Britain has a long and proud record of assisting those in need and I’m pleased this is a record the UK Government is continuing to uphold. The UK is the second largest bilateral donor of aid to the Syrian conflict and the £1bn of aid already committed is making a real difference.

“It is right that we take in more refugees and I have been impressed with the response of the people in the Borders who are giving up time and money to do what they can to help.”

He added: “But with more than 60 million people forcibly driven from their own homes, simply taking in a few extra thousand is not going to solve the problem in Syria and beyond. We must focus on finding a solution that helps stabilise the countries where refugees are coming from.”

Borders2Calais, a fundraising effort to get important supplies to those most in need of them in the camps outside Calais, is already well on its way to raising £2,000, wth over £400 pledged.

The plan is for the necessities to be taken to Calais after October 16.

Volunteers from CalAid Hawick gathered donations over the weekend at an event organised by local women Vanessa Reith and Yasmin Sonkur, both 23, who were on hand to accept what Teries had to offer.

A wide range of items were handed in, including plenty of men’s warm winter clothing.

Miss Reith said: “I think people have been especially generous for this cause because we weren’t asking for money. We needed things that people have already got sitting around in their house.”

Another project is the Borders Aid for Syria group, which is collecting donations to be sent out at the end of the month.

The project is being helped by Duns Parish Church, which will be open weekdays, 8.30am-6.30pm until Friday September 25,for people to drop off donations. There are also drop-off points in Eyemouth, at 31 The Avenue and 51 Hurkur Crescent.