Sheffield refugee support group is looking for a new home to continue its work collecting donations

A Sheffield refugee support group is looking for a new place to operate from so that it can continue to source donations to send to Calais and Greece.

Tuesday, 11th January 2022, 6:00 am
Since the group was formed, demand for supplies, especially coats and tents has continued to rise.

Sheffield Donations for Refugees has secured valuable items to support refugees abroad and in the UK since 2015, and is now looking for a new base of operations having previously worked from Meersbrook Hall.

The group is volunteer led and is appealing for a site that can be used free of charge as a location for Sheffielders to drop off donations and for staff to sort through them.

Rosie Heller, aged 41 from Woodseats, helped establish the group which operates through a Facebook page putting out calls for certain items that are in demand, such as coats and tents.

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Rosie Heller established the group, which sends supplies to refugees abroad, in 2015.

She said: “There is a need for us and it is growing. The conditions people are expected to live in are absolutely unbelievable.

"We have been sending tents - just imagine one night in winter sleeping in a tent. Authorities in France keep slashing the tents open, they are smashing mobile phones, taking their shoes off them. It is brutal. It is part of that othering process.

"The peaks and troughs of how busy we have been has been to do with the news. When Afghanistan imploded, that was big. It is really easy to get upset reading comments online, people are ready to criticise. But in general Sheffield is doing a great job, Sheffield has helped people to feel safe. It is heart warming with the donations, because otherwise you can feel absolutely stuck.”

An ideal site for the group would be somewhere that is dry and has level access so that people can easily drop off donations. Due to the volume of donations they receive, the would need to be around 1,000 square feet, but Rosie said that they would consider most sites they are offered.

The group are looking for new premises where they can store and sort donations.

Rosie added: “It is beyond words how the British government have dealt with refugees. They are just brutal. It is disgusting that if you have got that power you can treat people that way. There are clear choices like do you rescue someone or not.

“Some people’s response has been to say, ‘let’s help’, and other people have said, ‘what are you doing here, you don’t belong here.’”