Donation centres opened for refugees
Currently the churches taking donations are: Penicuik North Kirk, Gorebridge Parish, Loanhead, Mayfield, Newtongrange, Bonnyrigg and St Nicholas Buccleuch in Dalkeith. Lasswade, Beeslack and Penicuik High Schools are also taking donations as is Loanhead Miners’ Club.
Council Leader Councillor Catherine Johnstone said: “The council is working with churches and community groups as part of a partnership we’ve informally called MidAid.
“It’s vital that we pull together as a county to support refugees, many of whom have lost their loved ones, their jobs and their homes.
“I cannot imagine what they have been through but I know that if giving warm clothes, school jotters and boots can help refugees in camps even just get through a winter, then we have a moral duty to do so.”
Initially, the council and partners will be linking with Edinburgh Direct Aid to get the donations to Syrians refugees in European camps.
In the longer term, the council will use a variety of routes to get aid where it is needed.
The council collected the first donations from Penicuik North Kirk at the end of January.
Councillor Johnstone asked local people to donate: warm clothes, shoes and boots, new underwear, toiletries and school supplies to the centres mentioned above. More centres are planned and further details of where people can donate will be given out in the coming weeks.
Councillor Johnstone added: “More than 2 million Syrian children are now refugees facing a frightening and uncertain future. Please help if you can.”
Reverend Ruth Halley of Penicuik North Kirk said:"Church of Scotland churches across Midlothian are opening their doors to the community to receive donations and other churches and faith groups are also being invited to participate. In Penicuik, the generosity of local people has already been overwhelming. Volunteers have been sorting the goods into bags of winter clothing, shoes and school supplies and two loads have now been uplifted for transit to camps in Europe. The need is great so please do bring whatever you can."
Reverend Sandy Horsburgh, the Convener of Lothian Presbytery's Church and Society committee, added, "I am delighted that so many churches across the county have come on board with this project so quickly. It really shows the depth of concern and the commitment of our volunteers. People throughout Midlothian have proved themselves to be compassionate and generous many times in the past and I am sure that we will do so again. Our great concern is to relieve the terrible suffering refugees are enduring and to express our common humanity."
The picture shows from left to right: Alan Naylor, Jan Naylor, Alastair McGregor, Sadie McIntosh, Jim Black, Chris Black and the Reverend Ruth Halley of Penicuik