Thousands of kilos worth of clothing and bedding donated by kind-hearted people from Cheshire and North Wales is on its way to help refugees in Greece.
Volunteers have spent hours sorting through donated supplies at the newly-opened North Wales Refugee and Homeless Aid Centre on the Castle Park Industrial Estate in Flint.
On Tuesday supporters at the 4,000sq ft centre waved off a lorry loaded with 6,000kg of supplies for refugees on the island of Leros - with even more items in the warehouse waiting to be packed.
The facility, which has been provided by Flintshire County Council for free, is being run by Adam Dandy, Louise Edwards, Monica Hogg, Kim Neige Guillot and Sarah Salmon.
They have been taking in items collected by groups from across North Wales and Cheshire including Supporting Refugees South Denbighshire, North Wales Refugee Support, Meirionnydd/Dwyfor – Refugee Solidarity, Conwy Supporting Refugees and Anglesey-Calais People Solidarity.
Adam Dandy, who runs Dandy’s Topsoil on Sealand Road in Chester, said: “We have been absolutely inundated with donations at Dandy’s and within two weeks we had filled a huge container and had to start turning people away.
“That’s when we got in touch with Supporting Refugees Flintshire and had a meeting with Aaron Shotton and Bernie Attridge at Flintshire council and they offered us this warehouse. Their support has been amazing.”
The donated goods are currently being driven to Manchester Airport, where they will be transported to London and shipped to Leros.
Adam said: “It is an island of about 8,000 people and they have been absolutely inundated with people landing on the beaches day in day out. Literally bodies have washed up on the shore of Leros and the locals there have had to deal with it.
“These are human beings like you and me and they need help and the people of Flintshire, Chester and right away across North Wales have come together to do that.”
Fantastic community support
Louise, who lives in Treuddyn and is one of the four founding members of Supporting Refugees Flintshire, said the support from the community has been “fantastic”.
She said: “None of us have done anything like this before but the support we have had from the community has been fantastic – we’ve had people turn up from as far away as Anglesey, Blanaeu Ffestiniog and Towyn.”
Many of the tents and sleeping bags have been donated by revellers at Festival No 6 – which took place last month.
Louise and three others will head out to the Greek island to help with relief efforts run by Leros Aid later this month.
Flintshire council leader Aaron Shotton said he is “proud” that the authority has been able to help out with efforts and pledged to “roll up his sleeves” and volunteer himself.
He said: “We were humbled and blown away by the sheer response the Flintshire community has given.
“The fear was without the council being able to help out with storage that collections would stop, so it has been important that the council has been able to act quickly in what is a crisis.
“I’m pleased and proud to be able to play a part in what is a massive community response.”
The group are urging businesses to come forward and sponsor pallets to make sure they can continue sending items to those in need.
Anyone interested in volunteering or sponsoring a pallet should contact Adam at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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