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Student lends support to refugees with trip to Calais


September 8 2015

A Wrexham woman has been overwhelmed with support for her plan to show solidarity with refugees and migrants.

Katie Wilkinson, 27, a final-year Glyndŵr University student,  said: "A friend, Leanne Davies, and I were reflecting on the tragic images of the children who drowned trying to flee Syria. Some of the comments we had read on social media sites cast a bleak response, which left us feeling disheartened and ashamed of how these innocent people were being treated and viewed. 

"We started discussing possible ways we could support them and show solidarity; we hoped to just fill my car with some goods and drop them off with one of the many groups that are making trips to Calais.

"I wrote a simple Facebook status to see if any friends had any items they could donate, however the status was shared over 80 times and the comments and messages I received from people wanting to help were overwhelming and inspiring.

"In fact, the response was so great it led to us creating a group where over 200 people from the local community had joined in under five minutes.

"As I write this, just over six hours since creating the group, the membership stands at almost 400.

"Not only have the donations poured in from local people, but local businesses and organisations have reached out to offer themselves as drop off points, meeting locations, sorting rooms and much more.

"What began as a small status posted to a few friends has turned into an entire community action in the space of 24 hours. Not only is this campaign, and all the others like it, offering assistance to those in Calais who are desperately trying to survive, it is counteracting the negative depictions the government and mainstream media are projecting about what should, or should not, be done to help. 

"As the response has been so huge, we are now planning to go directly to the camp in Calais on the 19th of September to join others from across the UK and Europe in a day of solidarity.

"If anyone is wishing to gain more information or get involved, please join our Facebook group 'Wrexham to Calais solidarity'.

"Anyone wishing to make a donation there are drop off points at the Saith Seren, Glyndŵr Student Guild office and Splash Magic in Plas Madoc. The last 24 hours has not only shown how compassionate and dedicated our local community is, but also how many people want to see positive change for the refugees in Calais."

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