Garage sought to store refugee donations following overwhelming support in St Albans

Syrian migrants arrive at the coast on a dinghy after crossing from Turkey, at the island of Lesbos,

Syrian migrants arrive at the coast on a dinghy after crossing from Turkey, at the island of Lesbos, Greece, Monday, Sept. 7, 2015. The island of some 100,000 residents has been transformed by the sudden new population of some 20,000 refugees and migrants, mostly from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris) - Credit: AP

After a campaign in the Herts Ad, the people of St Albans spoke loudly and clearly last weekend when a garage used to store useful items for Syrian refugees in Calais overflowed with donations.

Organisers of StAlbansForRefugees said they were “exceedingly busy” as people came in their droves to donate clothing, camping equipment and other useful items.

Ny Moughal, who was among the volunteers who manned the garage on Saturday, said he was “amazed” at the level of generosity.

He went on: “It was just a stream of people. It was great - absolutely brilliant. The support from the people of St Albans was phenomenal.

“We didn’t sit down all day; I think we had five minutes for a quick coffee at one point but that was it.”

Ny added that people who could not make it to the garage over the weekend had arranged visits in the evenings.

He said: “They were so grateful and saying thanks to us, but we were saying thanks to them for donating. It’s amazing.”

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Liz Needham, who helped set up the group only last week, is now looking for additional premises in which to store donations and is calling on the community for help once more.

She said: “The garage was incredibly busy and is going to be full up in no time.”

Although the council arranged the use of a second garage on Tuesday (15), Liz is certain that she will need more space.

She said: “If anyone has a little pocket of warehouse that they could lend us temporarily that would be incredibly helpful.”

StAlbansForRefugees was set up last weekend after the organisers noticed that there was a growing desire among local people to help the thousands of refugees who have made it to Europe, but no local outlet for their generosity.

The group quickly gained support from councillors and local people alike, with county councillor Paul Zukowskyj offering £500 of his locality budget toward the cost of the garage.

Liz said that the group was likely to need an extension on the six-week rent of the garage and hopes to start transporting donations to Calais within a month.

In preparation for their journey across the Channel, the group is hoping to raise money for fuel and is looking to procure a van for the journey.

For more information, or to donate, click here, where you will find a list of what to donate and the garage’s address.