Refugee Response: ‘People have opened their hearts to help’

Christine Deeney and her children M�ire and Orla at the Linking Hands North West base. INLV4015-006KDR
Christine Deeney and her children M�ire and Orla at the Linking Hands North West base. INLV4015-006KDR

The people of the Roe Valley have “opened their hearts” to help refugees stranded across Europe, writes Sheena Jackson

Christine Deeney and Liz Bailie Allen were horrified at the distressing scenes of refugees caught up in the crisis.

The women set up ‘North West Linking Hands’ and, since their appeal in the last fortnight, they have been overwhelmed by donations of clothing and equipment flooding in.

“We are completely overwhelmed by all the donations that have come in. People have been so good, and they have really opened their hearts to helping out. The response has surpassed everything we have asked for. It has been amazing,” Christine told the ‘Journal’.

The group’s offices at the Industrial Estate in Aghanloo are packed with boxes and bin liner bags full of donations.

Mrs. Deeney said they have “a mountain of sorting to do to get the donations ready for shipping by the end of next week”.

“We have bags and bags of donations, and we have sent about 150 boxes already to Derry Refufgee Aid. That will go on a convoy to Syria and some of that will go Greece, Hungary and Calais. It really is overwhelming. We really never expected it to be on this scale.”

Included in the lorry load sent to date is clothing, toiletries and equipment.

“You can’t put a figure on how many people will be helped through these donations. People have fled their countries with just the shirts on their backs and so these donations are important. The donations are all good quality and they will make such a difference,” said Christine.

“The whole island has come together to create a movement of helping, and the Roe Valley has played its part,” said Christine.

“We need more people to help us sort the amazing donations,” said Christine.

“We didn’t anticipate this level of kindness from the public. It has been overwhelming and we want to thank everyone who has made a donation or provided boxes or helped with transport.

“ What we really need now is ‘people power’. for people to come out and volunteer, even if it’s just half an hour. Anything they can give is fantastic.”

Anyone over 16 who can spare even an hour to help this week, “we would love to hear from you,” said Christine.

“Youth groups, sports groups, Church groups, individuals, anyone from anywhere - please come and give a hand.

“ I don’t need to tell you what a good cause you will be helping and how gratefully your help will be received, both by the Linking hands Group and by refugee families you will never meet.”

The location is Unit 1 Roe Valley Enterprises Aghanloo, Limavady.

If you cango along, contact Christine Deeney on 07894248283 or message her on Facebook at the North West Linking Hands page.