Church donations support refugees

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A Garioch church will be donating collections from three of its Christmas services to support refugees.

Festive offerings at Daviot Church will be divided between three organisations - the Christian Aid Refugee Appeal, Mediterranean Hope and the Aberdeenshire Partner Refugee Group.

Worshippers at Daviot’s Christmas services were invited to donate to help with the work of the groups.

Culsalmond and Rayne and Daviot minister, the Rev Mary Cranfield, wrote to parishioners on behalf of the Daviot Church and Community Refugee Appeal.

She said: “The current refugee crisis is very complex and it is easy for us to feel overwhelmed by the desperate situations affecting so many people.

“But by supporting the groups we do feel we can at least do something to help in a variety of locations and contexts from the Middle East to our own locality.”

The Christian Aid Refugee Appeal supports Syrian refugee communities and displaced Iraqis in Lebanon and Iraq.

Working through local partner organisations they provide food, hygiene items, infant kits, fuel for cooking, cash assistance as well as much needed psychosocial support and specialist support for Syrian refugees with disabilities.

Meanwhile, Mediterranean Hope is a project of the Federation of Protestant Churches in Italy which does outstanding work to support refugees.

It has become an important part of the community in Lampedusa as it works alongside others to offer first relief action and to document stories, facts and statistics.

The project also runs a welcome and accommodation centre in Sicily which has room for up to 40 vulnerable people, such as unaccompanied minors, and promotes encounters and integration among the local community. Mediterranean Hope also has a resettlement desk in Rome to assist refugees in their ongoing plans in Italy or elsewhere and campaigns for humanitarian corridors to facilitate safe travel.

The Aberdeenshire Partner Refugee Group has been set up to co-ordinate the response to the refugees who will be coming to the area as part of the Government’s resettlement scheme.

It includes representatives from the council, health service, charities and volunteer sector.

The fund to be set up will be used to buy vital items which need to be bought, such as children’s car seats.