St Neots business owners set up scheme to aid refugees

St Neots business man Andrew Poodle, collection for refugees, with Gayle Hall,

St Neots business man Andrew Poodle, collection for refugees, with Gayle Hall, - Credit: Archant

A grassroots community organisation has sprung up in St Neots to help provide aid and support for refugees fleeing the conflict in Syria and those caught up in the Calais ‘jungle’.

Local business owners Gayle Hall and Andrew Poodle are using space in their warehouse at Little End Road, Eaton Socon, as a hub for the storage, sorting and distribution of clothing and equipment and also coordinating with aid organisations to distribute items to those in need.

Several local businesses have offered to act as collection points for donations, including clothing, tents and toiletries, and volunteers have been sorting through the mountain of supplies.

The business partners, who run a company called Craftspeed, set up a Refugee Support Facebook page three weeks ago, which already has 450 members, to make an appeal for help.

“The Syrian conflict is generating a migration of refugees through Europe which has not been seen since the Second World War, and it’s a problem that doesn’t have a quick-fix,” said Gayle.


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“While all those involved recognise there are political and economic questions that need to be answered regarding migration and immigration into Europe and the UK, they don’t believe it justifies leaving vulnerable people to die of exposure, starvation or disease while decisions are made.”

Gayle, of Ridgeway in Eynesbury, and business partner Andrew, of Manor Grove, St Neots, would particularly like to hear from anyone who can spare a few hours to sort through donated clothes or any group or individual who has the space to erect donated tents to ensure they are in good condition.

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“The situation is ongoing and it seems to change on a daily basis,” explained Andrew.

“Some people have nothing, so a lot of what we are providing is basic items and emergency packs.”

Gayle is making up survival kits for children, which cost £30 to put together, and says she also needs men’s razors, shaving gel and deodorant as these items are running low.

Collection points for donations are at: Kingfisher Funeral Services in St Neots and Huntingdon, Adlam and Coomber Opticians in St Neots and Insignis Cars in St Neots.

INFO: If you would like to help or make a donation there is more information at: refugeesupport.craftspeed.com or www.facebook.comgroupsstneotsrefugeesupport

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