Mercy mission mums’ Milngavie relief effort

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Warm-hearted Milngavie residents have spontaneously rallied round to help the desperate refugee families fleeing war and terror.

In one spectacular gesture Kelly Colquhoun, of Colbeg Farm on Balmore Road, has been the focus of what’s said to be a major local effort, with truck-loads of goods heading for Calais.

That rendezvous was also the departure point for no less than three estate cars jammed full of clothes, toiletries and other essentials, in an initiative organised by Milngavie’s St Joseph’s Primary Parent Teacher Association.

Chairwoman Jackie McAllister said: “Everyone has wanted to help, and the response has been fantastic – it all happened very quickly.”

Besides essentials the group is also getting together to send toys, particularly teddy bears, for the children.

Jackie is local project coordinator for the Paddington Bear project, which enlists family members to sponsor the cost of a soft toy sent to a refugee child.

“Of course the basic essentials of life are at the top of the list for donations,” said Jackie, “but we’ve been hearing a lot about the positive psychological effects of children being given a cuddly toy that comes with a personal message from another child, someone their own age that cares.”

While these and other spontaneous efforts gather pace, East Dunbartonshire Council says it is ready and willing to play its part in the national effort to help the hundreds of thousands of desperate people caught up in the crisis.

Council leader Rhondda Geekie said the scale of the emergency meant that East Dunbartonshire Council and other local councils could only assist by supporting the UK and Scottish governments, and that the authority was awaiting further detail on how to help.

She said: “The national Task Force is also developing an online resource on how the public can best help this situation and as soon as that is available we will promote it throughout the area.”

In neighbouring West Dunbartonshire a public meeting about the crisis was organised at the request of a councillor, while council leader Martin Rooney said the area could probably house more than 100 Syrian families.

The authority is understood to be analysing data on homeless housing, schools and nurseries to find how many refugees could realistically be welcomed to the area as part of an official relocation scheme.