A six vehicle CWUHA convoy will set off over the next few days for Turkey and Hungary with aid for refugees.
“This has gone from a small project to an international relief effort.”Carl Webb, CWUHA chair
Two vehicles head for Turkey today (Friday), with the other four setting off to Hungary on Monday.
The appeal for aid mushroomed, with CWU branches being joined by fellow trade unionists from Unite, Unison and the GMB in providing all sorts of provisions.
There has also been support from Bury Council and Manchester City Council as well as the ITUC, ETUC and Uni Global.
At the North West Regional Labour Party meeting in Blackpool this weekend, delegates have been asked to bring toothpaste and toothbrushes to donate.
CWUHA chair Carl Webb has texted Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and deputy leader Tom Watson reminding them to bring their spare tooth brushes and toothpaste.
There are 12 people going in six vehicles, five provided by Royal Mail and one from BT. “Royal Mail and BT have been fantastic with the support they have offered,” said Carl, who is also grateful to CWU Ireland for toiletries and other supplies they provided.
CWUHA has forged a valuable relationship with a Scottish group called Massive Outpouring of Love, which got together in the Dumfries and Galloway area to provide support. “They have given us 300 boxes of aid, filling a whole vehicle,” said Carl.
Another initiative involved an A level student, Kai Taylor, who became aware of the refugee crisis as a result of some work experience he was doing in the office of Labour MP Marie Rimmer.
“I’d been watching the images on TV so I decided to do something about it. I got together with a few friends on Facebook and we started looking at the costs of sending small amounts of aid. However the project soon escalated and we became swamped,” said Kai.
Marie then got in touch with the CWUHA to pick up and deliver the aid.
Local CWU branch officer Angela Teeling, based at BT’s St Helens Telephone Exchange, is taking the aid to Hungary.
“This has gone from a small project to an international relief effort,” said Carl. “What has been most heart-warming has been the response from the public – they have given amazingly generous donations.”
MP praises local refugee aid efforts
Marie Rimmer, MP for St Helens South and Whiston, today praised a group of local young people who have organised a significant amount of aid for Syrian refugees, bringing together local employers and workers in the process.
Prescot teenager and Carmel College A Level student, Kai Taylor, first became aware of the crisis whilst on a work experience placement in the MPs constituency office. Kai said, “I’d been watching the images on TV so I decided to do something about it. I got together with a few friends on Facebook and we started looking at the costs of sending small amounts of aid.
Kai Continued “However the project soon escalated and we became swamped. We had to find somewhere to store the aid and also package it, and I’m extremely grateful to the Zion Methodist church and PLC Activities Club in Prescot for allowing us to store the aid and also Merseychem Ltd for supplying the boxes. We soon got over 90 boxes with no way to get them delivered. We’ve got 200 at the moment.
“I then remembered that Marie had offered to coordinate aid collections and so I spoke to her and she arranged for the Communication Workers Union Humanitarian Aid (CWUHA) to pick up the aid and deliver it.”
Local CWU branch officer Angela Teeling, based at BTs St Helens Telephone Exchange, is taking the aid down to Hungary at the beginning of November as part of a CWUHA convoy. Angela commented “We were amazed at the amount of aid that Kai’s group had collected and we are really pleased to be able help the group out by delivering the aid to Hungary. We have really close links with local MPs and on occasions such as these they prove really useful in bringing people together to get things done.”
Marie Rimmer MP commented “When I offered to act as collection point for aid for the refugees I couldn’t imagine the response would be so great.
“The efforts of Kai, Claudia Dowsdell and Paul Murphy demonstrate the best attributes of our young people. The way the people of the area, local businesses and trade unions have combined exemplifies the best characteristics of the British public and show what we can achieve for those less fortunate when we work together. Well done to all involved.”