#RefugeeCrisis: What people in Scotland can do to help

Public mobilises to help refugees

COMMONSPACE has put together a list of protests, drop-off points, discussion groups, and fundraising events for people in Scotland who want to help with the escalating refugee crisis.

The crisis has seen millions of destitute refugees and internally displaced persons fleeing hardship and war in the hope of finding safety.

In light of the upsurge of human suffering with the European refugee crisis, many are left feeling helpless. Below is a list of events taking place around Scotland to help refugees.

Student Association Unviersity West of Scotland
A collection space has been set up by the students in Paisley, Ayr and Hamilton. They will be in the following locations: Paisley Student Union, Storey Street, Ayr Student Union (Riverside campus) and Hamilton Student Union on Monday 14 and Wednesday 16 September from 11am to 4pm.
National Childbirth Trust - Aberdeen City and Shire
A collection point is to take place every Wednesday at 5pm at the Bon Accord Terrace in Aberdeen between 10am to midday. On 30 September, the collection point will be held at 8 Crown Terract between 10am and midday. You can email the organisation for details at: aberdeen@nct.org.uk. Click here for the Facebook page for updates.
East Renfrewshire convoy to Calais

A group has been set up in East Renfrewshire to send donations to what has been termed 'the jungle' refugee camp in Calais. Donations should be brought to the attention of Councillor Vincent Waters. Drop off points for donations in East Renfrewshire are as follows: East Renfrewshire Council, Eastwood Park, Rouken Glen Road, Giffnock, East Renfrewshire, G46 6UG, or East Renfrewshire Council, 211 Main Street, Barrhead, G78 1SY, or Kirsten Oswald MP, Constituency Offices, 1 Speirsbridge Way, Thornliebank, East Renfrewshire, G46 8NG.

More drop off points are to be announced on the Facebook page, which can be found here . If you widh to donate to the appeal, a link to the crowdfunder can be found here .

A convoy will set off from East Renfrewshire to Calais on Thursday 29 October 2015.

Linlithgow sees Calais

On 12 September, people all over the world will light candles in memory of those who have died attempting to reach safety. A further aim of this is to highlight the negligence of the UK government in dealing with the crisis. Candles will be lit from 2pm to 4pm on Ssturday 12 September outside the council buildings in Linlithgow to peacefully remember those who lost their lives. To find out more information, click here .

West Lothian Calais shoebox appeal

Boxes can be handed to Myka on Jarvey street in Bathgate, Atica Boutique on Hopetoun street Bathgate, Dream U on Union Road Bathgate, and Playbugs in linlithgow. Kidzeco in Batgate will also have collection tubs for those who would prefer to hand in individual items. The collection is due to close on 10 October. To get involved click here .

CalAid Lochaber

Various collection points are being established. Events will be held from September to December. To keep up to date with the developments, click here .

Paul Monaghan MP

Monaghan's constituency office in Brora has been inundated with calls and emails from constituents asking how they themselves can support the refugees. The constituency office in Brora will operate as a community hub to accept and co-ordinate donations to then be sent on to where it's most needed. To get involved, click here .

Paisley Supports Refugees in Leros

A group of local volunteers are organising various fundraisers and events to send food, water and shoes to Leros, where up to 500 refugees are arriving on a daily basis. To get involved, click on the crowdfunder link here .

Saving Lives at Sea

Laura McColl and Esther O'Connor are organising a charity gig in Glasgow/ The proceeds will go to the Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) organisation. Tickets are now on sale for the event, which can be purchased here . If it is not possible to attend their event, donations can be given to MOAS here, and a link to the Facebook event page can be found here . The gig will kick off at 7pm on Thursday 29 October, at The Rum Shack, 657-659 Pollokshaws Road, Glasgow, G41 2AB.

Angus Solidarity for Refugees

The current list of drop off points in and around Angus are as follows: Arbroath- Arbroath Constituency Office, 16 Brothock Bridge, Arbroath, DD11 1NG, Forfar- Flowers Galore 108 - 110 East High St, DD8 2ET, Forfar- Laura Costello, 16 osprey drive, Gowanbank, Forfar, DD8 2UW, Voluntary Angus 1-3 at James road, Forfar, DD8 2AQ. Kirriemuir- Pathhead Equestrian Center,Forfar Rd, Kirriemuir, Angus DD8 5BY, Kirriemuir- Jewellery Workshop, 16A Bank St, Kirriemuir, Angus DD8 4BG, Kirriemuir Dental Practice, 120 Roods, Kirriemuir, Angus DD8 4HQ, Letham- Laura Kidd, 29 Guthrie St Letham, DD8 2PS, Montrose - Teresa Spark, Limekilns, Dubton Road, Montrose, Angus DD10 9EG.

Collection points are still required in Carnoustie, Monifieth, and Edzell.

To get involved or lend a hand, click on the Facebook event page here .

Fife to Calais

A night of discussions with guest speakers will take place on 15 September at St Bryce Kirk in Kirkcaldy to establish a refugee solidarity network in the Fife area. To get involved, click on the Facebook event page here .

Moray, Ross-Shire and Inverness for Calais

A group has been set up to send aid to Calais. They are currently experiencing a particularly high demand for shoes, tents, covers, jackets, travelling bags, socks, candels, and belts. To find out more, click here .

Dalkeith SNP Group

Dalkeith and District SNP will be collecting warm winter clothes, footwear, small toys and toiletries for the refugees. Donations can be made to Jarnac Court, Dalkeith street stall on Saturday 12 September 10am to 12.00.

Angus Solidarity for Refugees

A group has been established in Angus to assist the escalating refugee crisis. A link to their Facebook page can be found here . To donate to the crowdfunder, click here .

Ayrshire CalAid

A collection dayhas been established to help those who have made it to the camp at Calais. The event will be held on 10 October, between 10am and 4pm.The event will be held at Fairlie Marina Quay, Fairlie, North Ayrshire, KA29 0AS. A list of suggested donated items is displayed on the Facebook event page.

Portobello CalAid Group

A Portobella based collection point has been established to assist refugees in Calais who are currently living in what has been labelled "the jungle". Donations will be forwarded to CalAid Edinburgh. The event will be held from 11am to 2pm on 12 September at Portobello Town Hall, 147-149 Portobello High Street, Edinburgh EH15 1AF.

To give financial support to the cause, click here . To view the Facebook event page, click here .

Shetland Solidarity with Refugees

A Facebook page has been established in the Shetland Islands to promote up coming local events and drop off points. The Hillswick Wildlife Santuary are hosting an evening of blues music and poetry at 8pm on Friday 4 September in aid of Shetland Solidarity with Refugees. Additionally, Sunday teas will be held in Levenwick Hall on Sunday 13 September from 2pm to 5pm to raise money for Medecin Sans Frontieres, who are delivering medical assistance to refugees in affected areas.

From Wishaw to Calais

A donation collection point has been set up for Saturday 12 September at 11.30am onwards in St Patrick's Church hall in Strathhaven. To get involved in the event, click here .

A Massive Outpouring Of Love - Dumfries and Galloway Refugee Action

This group is covering the whole of Dumfries and Galloway. They have established Satellite Hubs throughout the region and a central drop off point in Dumfries. In addition to collecting supplies, they have asked people to write notes of support, letters of encouragement and draw pictures in a bid to ensure that people who are not in a position to contribute financially can be part of the campaign. To find out more, click here .

It Take a Village - Peebles

A couple are travelling from Peebles to Calais with a horse box of supplies for the refugees living there. To find out more about this project, click here .

Perth and Coupar Angus Solidarity with Refugees

Donations will be collected in South Inch Carpark in Parth from 12 to 1.30pm on Saturday 5 September. A list on donations has been put together and can be viewed on the Facebook event page .

Yoga and Pilates Place Fundraiser - Glasgow Southside

Sarah Jane, owner of Yoga and Pilates Place, is a member of Scotland Supporting Refugees, a group of volunteers challenging the lack of humanitarian response to refugees arriving in Europe. The Yoga and Pilates Place is due to host a day of yoga and pilates classes. The day will be free of charge with the understanding that donations be made to a fundraiser for refugees. To donate, click here . And to find out more about the even, click here .

Dumfries Day for Calais

There will be a drop off day for Calais on Saturday 5 September from 10am to 4pm. The event will be hosted at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, 36 Edinburgh Road, Dumfries, DG1 1JQ. There will be a second drop off session on Tuesday 8 September between 6.30pm and 9pm.

Glasgow sees Syria

Thousands of people are predicted to attend this vigil for Syrian refugees. It aims to put pressure on Prime Minister David Cameron to allow more refugees in the UK.

On Saturday 12 September 12 at 2.30pm, protesters will gather in Glasgow's George Square and each light a candle to remember those who have died trying to reach safety.

The organisers stated that they wish to: "Peacefully tell our politicians that the people of Glasgow will not abide by the Home Office decision to help so few refugees."

Follow the event's developments here .

Edinburgh Sees Syria

This is the sister event to Glasgow sees Syria, which also expect to attract thousands of peaceful protesters.

This event will also take place on 12 September 12 at 2.30pm, and will be held at the Scottish Parliament.

Join the event here .

STUC discussion group

Activists and trade unionists have booked the STUC in Glasgow on 14 September at 7pm to hold an event to discuss how best people in Scotland can alleviate the suffering of refugees.

The aim of the event is to gather as many people as possible to facilitate coordination of different events to help the refugee crisis, plan future events, look into how refugees can be helped here in Scotland and explore how more refugees can be brought to Scotland and supported on arrival.

There is an open invite to this event.

Orkney sees Syria

A group of peaceful protesters will be meeting outside Cathedral Square at midday on 12 September.

In line with the events in Edinburgh and Glasgow, candles will be lit to remember those who lost their lives fleeing suffering and war. This event can be followed here .

Collections will also be taken here in support of CalAid, a group who are raising funds to assist refugees living in the refugee camps in Calais, France.

CalAid is currently in the process of setting up network locations across Scotland to use as a collection point where people can donate essentials. While these are being establishment, donations can be sent directly to: 'LE VESTIAIRE DES MIGRANTS', 2 Rue de Croy, 62100, Calais, France.

Slings For Kos

A woman named Rachel Durkin has established an online group to send slings and baby carriers to Kos.

On the page, Durkin wrote: "I am collecting baby slings and carriers to send to Kos. Many destitute women are landing there with small children, and their only means of transport is on foot with a babe in their arms. Having a carrier can ease the burden on them.

"All I ask is that the carrier is clean, in good working order and if possible has the instructions.

"Please send me a message if you would like to donate, and I can send my address for delivery or postage."

A link to the page can be found here .

CalAid Edinburgh

A drop off point has been created in central Edinburgh at Studio 24, and will open on 3 September.

The point will be open from 2pm-7pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays from September 3 onwards. The full address of the drop-off point is: Studio 24, 24-26 Calton Road, Edinburgh, EH8 8DP.

A list of suggested items, from nappies and scarves to toothpaste and medicine, is displayed on the Facebook group page.

Dundee Refugee Support

Dundee Refugee Support are a Facebook group who are collecting donations and crowdfunding to create and deliver survival packs for refugees suffering in Calais.

Keep up to date with their donation delivery dates and up coming events here .

Strathclyde Student Union

Strathclyde Student Union building on John Street will be accepting donations for Calais at their reception from Monday to Friday during office hours.

Stop The War

The Stop the War campaign group has organised a 'refugees welcome here' day of action in London. A national demonstration will take place on 12 September at midday at Downing Street.

A link to the Facebook group can be found here .

A quote from the event page reads: "Only one heart didn't melt at the pictures of the three-year-old Syrian Kurdish boy's dead body washed up on a Turkish beach: David Cameron's. He responded by refusing to take anymore refugees.

"But he is still promising to try and force parliament to agree more bombing of Syria. Which will force more refugees to flee Syria. And then David Cameron will let them drown too.

"Their only solution is further war, even though it is increasingly obvious that this option is only creating yet more chaos. Just as we oppose wars, we try to show solidarity with its victims."

Host a Refugee - Positive Action in Housing

Positive Action in Housing have a database of accommodation volunteers who agree to offer up space in their home to a refugee for a few days, weeks, or even longer. They aim to help destitute refugees and their hosts form the best match in Scotland. To get involved, click here .

Unity

The Unity Centre offers support to refugees who have been detained in the UK's immigration removal detention centres. To volunteer for Unity, or find out more, click here .

Glasgow Night Shelter

The night shelter aims to provide a safe place for destitute asylum seekers in Glasgow. The organisation has recently established a fresh campaign to replace the delapidated mattresses in the shelter with new ones.

A statement on the website reads: "For most of the guys staying at the shelter, the moment when they get out the mattresses and lie down and pull their blanket over their head is the first time of the day they can find a quiet space. After a day spent sitting in public libraries or walking the streets, laying down on their mattress is the only time our guys can shut their eyes and relax knowing they and their belongings are safe."

However, there is currently no shelter for women asylum seekers who, because of immigration status, cannot access normal homeless services. The charity has set up an urgent appeal to find a safe place for women to sleep at night.

Coordinator of the shelter, Pull Jones, stated in STV : "These women are incredibly vulnerable to exploitation. We need to be able to offer them somewhere safe and warm when night falls.

"We have seen changes to the availability of benefits for asylum seekers and it's getting harder for people to gain support.

"The number of people becoming destitute is increasing, not because we have more people coming in, but because it's taking longer for their benefits to be sorted once they're homeless.

"We need space for around six women each night, somewhere that can fit in mattresses and sleeping bags, plus a kitchen where we can prepare food and some sort of room where they can sit and talk."

If you are aware of a premise that might be suitable for these destitute women to sleep, get in touch with the organisation.

A wishlist is provided on the website and facebook page , and the shelter is currently looking for volunteers.

Milk Cafe

Milk is a social enterprise set up to empower and promote the integration of asylum seeker women living in Glasgow. It offers opportunities to gain skills, experience and confidence. Support includes help with English language, personal development, form filling and interview skills. The cafe trading environment will offer a wide range of work experience and training including sales and marketing, customer service, stock control, health and safety, hospitality, administration, book-keeping and IT.

To support Milk , you can donate, volunteer or pop along for some coffee and cake. Email Milk at hellomolkcafe@gmail.com if you interested in getting more involved.

If you know of any other events taking place around Scotland, email miriam@common.scot and we'll add them to the list.

Picture courtesy of Bengin Ahmad