Owen Smith sets up collection for refugees in crisis

Thanks to the many constituents who have been in touch asking for ideas how they might help respond to the heartbreaking refugee crisis that across Europe and the Middle East. From tomorrow, Tuesday, 8th September, my office will be acting as a collection point,during office hours, for certain essential items that can be put to good use by some of those seeking refuge.

The items that we will be accepting are:

  • Sleeping bags (preferably good quality & waterproof)
  • Tents
  • Space blankets / emergency foil blankets
  • Baby slings
  • Baby clothes

These items are those in most demand, and they will be transported to the large refugee centre at Calais as part or the #Calaid convoy of October 4th.

Over the weekend, I have been discussing how best we can help with several of the groups working with refugees in Wales and Calais. In the absence of an adequate response from the Tories at Westminster, the most effective thing we might do is raise funds to help alleviate the plight of those affected. The Calaid group that is coordinating much of the activity across the UK already has a Just Giving page and I would encourage any constituent who wants to offer financial support, however great or small, to do so via their website: www.calaid.co.uk.

There are also a number of other charities helping people forced to flee their homes, who have asked for donations, including Save the Children, British Red Cross and Oxfam.

Locally, the Welsh Labour Party also wants to do its bit, so in addition to the announcement last week, by our First Minister, Carwyn Jones, that Wales is asking the UK Government to act swiftly and take our fair share of the refugees, we are also planning to host a fundraising event here in South Wales before the end of October. Details are currently being finalised, but we hope to make a full announcement within a week and I am sure that local people will wish to support the event by attending and showing solidarity with the Syrian people displaced by war.