Wigan volunteers concerned refugee donations are not being delivered

A group of people in Wigan are concerned that their donations for refugees have not been delivered.
Collections have been made for the people living at the Britannia HotelCollections have been made for the people living at the Britannia Hotel
Collections have been made for the people living at the Britannia Hotel

Necessities such as warm clothes and toiletries have been gathered together to help those who have been forced to flee their home country.

An independent group of volunteers fear some people are going without, after they were informed there was not enough storage space to keep the items for those staying at the Britannia Hotel.

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A spokesperson said: “The council told us they didn’t need any more items but we’ve been told one of the places they are staying hasn't actually received anything. We started collecting because we realised people were in need.

“It is frustrating, we’ve been doing it for months but contacting the right people in regard to it has been near impossible. We’re not sure why there has been so many miscommunications, but it could be leading to people being left without.

“Suitable clothing and toiletries are just waiting to be distributed, with multiple people offering to help. They should be living with some form of quality.”

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The collections were originally for people from Afghanistan but have been extended to other asylum seekers as well.

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Serco, who are dealing with the refugees at the Britannia Hotel, say they receive regular deliveries from the charity Care4Calais, with two ex-volunteers from the group also donating, which they are grateful for.

They also noted the random selection of clothes and toiletries are not detailed for a specific person, so are kept in a separate room, but anyone who asks for the items are given access to the room and can take what they need.

Mick Taylor, the manager of Support for Wigan Arrivals Project (SWAP), says the support for the refugees has been strong and disagrees over there being issues.

He said: “The asylum seekers in the hotel have been receiving support from a range of organisations, including Wigan Council, SWAP and the NHS. They also have a 24 hour free helpline support from Migrant Help, where they are able to request items.

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“I receive these and source clothing, and whilst the number of referrals have been low, the support is open to every asylum seeker.

“For a number of reasons it has been difficult to gain access, but the council and Serco have been supportive of our efforts. In my opinion, the council is doing an excellent job in supporting the asylum seekers, and to state otherwise is wrong.”

The council also added they remain committed to providing support and the only reason they are advising individuals not to drop off items is because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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