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Angus MacDonald MSP urges support for CalAid to help relieve crisis in Calais

Falkirk East MSP Angus MacDonald has visited a new CalAid project that has been launched in Bo'ness, praising the volunteers for taking the initiative to assist aid efforts to relieve the refugee crisis in the French port of Calais. 

CalAid are an association of volunteers around the country who are galvanising charitable donations and practical aid for those living in the Calais refugee camps. Their conviction is simple yet poignant: that no person should be without access to basic human rights like shelter and warmth.

By collecting donations, CalAid can work to improve these conditions and help alleviate the distress. In Bo'ness, concerned residents Mari-Ellena Corvi, Gail Nash and a group of volunteers have set up a local CalAid operation - the first of its kind within the Falkirk district. 

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CalAid Bo'ness are calling for the public for donations in kind that can be of practical help and support to refugees, for example toiletries, towels, clothes, footwear, bed linen, torches, tents, sleeping bags, camping equipment, tinned and dry foodstuffs, confectionery, clocks, watches and small items of furniture.   

Mari-Ellena Corvi, who set the wheels in motion for the local group, said, “I have been overwhelmed over recent weeks and days by the shocking images online showing the devastating results of the refugee crisis unfolding across the world. I couldn’t stand idly by while this crisis goes on, and had to take action."

Gail Nash who was quick to support the work being done added, “Having spent an afternoon accepting donations at one of the collection points in Bo’ness, I have been brought to tears several times as I’m astonished at the level of kindness shown by local people."

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Ms. Nash continued, "More volunteers from across the local community would be greatly appreciated. If you would like to help out in any way with the CalAid Bo’ness refugee relief project, no matter how much or how little of your time you'd be able to give, please contact the Hub at 13 North Street on 01506 823 131. All offers of assistance warmly welcome.”

You can keep up to date with news of CalAid Bo'ness by liking and following their Facebook page at the following weblink:

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Commenting, local MSP Angus MacDonald said, "If you live in or around Bo’ness or the wider Falkirk District, please consider supporting this local independent group which is coordinating the drop off and collection of donations for CalAid."

"The situation in Calais, which we debated in the chamber of the Scottish Parliament on Thursday, is part of a wider migration crisis in Europe. It is caused largely by the displacement of people from war-torn countries such as Syria, Sudan, Afghanistan and Eritrea."

"In addition to offering support and assistance, CalAid hope to change the perception of this crisis from one of hostility and fear to one of concern and compassion. I wholeheartedly applaud the organisation's efforts in seizing this vital initiative."

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Mr. MacDonald continued, "We were all deeply moved by the story of little Aylan Kurdi from Syria, whose lifeless body was pictured in our newspapers yesterday. Three-year-old Alyan, who's family took a migrant boat in desperation after being refused an application for asylum in the West, has become a tragic symbol of the plight of refugees globally. As a society, we must work together to ensure that this human catastrophe is never repeated.”

“This is a matter of supreme urgency. It's time to bring hope to the distraught refugees in Calais, and in other parts of the world where innocent lives are in peril as a result of people being forced to flee from their homeland."

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The MSP for Falkirk East concluded his statement by saying, "I would therefore encourage members of the public to support their local CalAid group wherever they can and in whichever way they can. Every act of compassion counts."

Copyright © Angus MacDonald MSP 2017

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