How the Care UK Charity began
Nora Carlin founded the charity after seeing the pictures of little Aylun Kurdi washed up on a Turkish beach. It brought home to her the tragedy and seriousness of the Syrian refugee crisis. In response she set up a Facebook page to coordinate the collection of aid, mainly clothes and food, to send to the refugees.
Help from compassionate people
Nora says "I intended to collect these items in my own home and have them sent to Greece. Within 24 hours I was faced with an overwhelming response and managed to secure free premises close by. The Facebook group also brought with it offers of help, volunteers to sort and pack the aid."
A structure was established to organise the volunteers with a manager and team leaders who were all kept up to speed with the ever changing situation and needs at that time. We also established links with Syria Relief Charity, in Manchester, who were advising us of needs and taking our donations for their containers for Syria.
A desperate need is revealed
From an initial intention to receive aid for "a couple of weeks" it was clear that people desperately wanted to help and that there was great need. Aid was coming in from groups and individuals covering the whole of the North West.
There were, and still are, millions of Syrian refugees as well as many millions of people in need of help both here and abroad. It was also clear that there was a huge amount of items that we all have that we don't actually need and that people were kind enough to donate to help others.
A charity is formed
We have now sent many containers of aid to Syria and Greece and many thousands of pounds to buy food. We have also sent many items to local charities that were not useful to the refugees. We have been fortunate in this period to be supported with three sets of premises, each bigger than the last, as well as our Care UK Charity groups in North Wales and Chorlton, Manchester. We also have a database of over 200 volunteers who work in shifts to sort and pack aid.
That is a huge achievement bearing in mind that what I initially expected was a few bin bags of clothes to be dealt with in my home.
Images courtesy of UNHCR/Achilleas Zavallis