Lochaber charity donates big to refugees

Some of the Re-Act volunteers putting donations into their containers. F51 Re-Act Lochaber 1no JP

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A Lochaber charity has sent more than 1,000 aid packages to refugees in the last seven months.

Re-Act Refugee Action Lochaber and Argyll began recording what aid had been sent abroad in May 2016. Since then it has sent 433 large sacks of kids and adults clothes, 165 separate items, for example, tents, camp beds and prams, 44 boxes of toiletries and 800 children and babies clothing packs.

Lorraine Wheelan from the charity said: ‘When it is written down like this and you actually see how much work is done, it is really wonderful. A lot of very, very kind and generous people have contributed to make all of this possible. Thanks to every single person that has been involved in so many different ways.’

The group meet in the former Fort William Primary School canteen to sort through donations and make up the aid packs. But the charity will have to leave the school in April as the school is scheduled for demolition.

Miss Wheelan told The Oban Times that the charity is now searching for new premises in Lochaber.

She said: ‘We need to find new premises and although it would be ideal to have premises that are free; having somewhere we could pay a low rent would also be fine as we would raise funds if needed.’

Currently the charity has a container to store donations but have had to give this up too. ‘We are also looking for a container and some land we could put it on, eg. waste land or part of a car park . It doesn’t matter what the container looks like so long as it is wind and water tight.’

Around 76 volunteers work with Re-Act but it is always on the look out for more volunteers. ‘We always need more people to help Re-Act develop and grow. I am always impressed with how many people will give up their time to help. In the last several months we have had more volunteers come on board. We have several students from West Highland College UHI who do a lot for us, including organising gigs and events, which always amazes me because they don’t have a lot of spare time between studying and part time work, but they always find the time to volunteer. We have a good bunch of people from all over Lochaber and Argyll; we even have people from South of the border who send us warm hand made clothes and handmade toys for the children’s packs.’

Re-Act Lochaber and Argyll has an amazon wish list where people can see what donations are needed. There are drop off points at Ballachulish St Munda’s church hall, Brecklet which is open daily from around 9.30am to  4.30pm, Kinlochleven Library, Riverside Road, Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm, Tuesday and thursday 9am to 8pm, Saturday 10am to 1 pm.

For drop off points in Duror contact 01631 740300 and Fiona Hutchison, Kinlochlaich Garden Centre, Appin text to check available drop off times on 07881525754. The Oban drop off point is Oban FM radio station, 136 George St.

If you know of a suitable premises for the charity or want to get in touch with Re-Act Lochaber and Argyll contact reactlochaber@yahoo.com