Leeds residents come to refugees’ aid

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Generous residents in north Leeds have flocked to donate aid at a new drop-off point in Chapeltown for the refugees in Calais.

Within days of the donation station being set up last weekend, organisers say they have been inundated with items to send to those trapped in the crisis.

It was local resident Zoe King, 36, who decided to offer her house as space for people to drop off goods including, tents, sleeping bags and clothes.

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Through just advertising on Facebook and putting up a few banners, she says she has been completely overwhelmed by the kindness of folk who have rushed to give what they can. She said: “It’s been absolutely incredible. It just shows how amazing Chapeltown is, how great everyone has been, and gives hope. It’s just that feeling that if we work together, we can make a difference.”

Zoe said she was so moved by the recent devastating scenes across Europe that she felt compelled to help after noticing Leeds No Borders group was lacking storage space for donated items. She said: “It’s been heartbreaking. People are in an unimaginable situation and they need help - who’s going to help them if not us?”

Chapeltown’s first batch of donated items have already been taken to Calais by a team from Leeds No Borders, who recently posted on Facebook asking people to hold off on more donations for now.

However Zoe said she is happy to store items of aid at her house until they are needed for future trips, to Calais or elsewhere.

A post on Leeds No Borders Facebook page said: “Truly amazing few days. Fantastic to have total strangers come together to prepare for the Calais trip.”

They also issued an appeal for more people interested in setting up local drop-off points to get in touch. Visit https://leedsnoborders.wordpress.com/. Visit Zoe’s page by searching ‘Chapeltown Calais Collection Point’ on Facebook.

John Garner (left) and Gareth Marshall of LDC

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