It’s been described as the picture that changed the world.
Now a wave of community sympathy and support for refugees fleeing from war-torn Syria has grown in the Coleraine area over the past week.
Local people, whose hearts were touched by the stark photograph of three-year-old Aylan Kurdi’s lifeless body washed up on a Turkish beach.
The growing refugee crisis prompted many people in Northern Ireland to ask how they can help those fleeing from Syria and neighbouring countries to make the perilous journey into Europe.
In response, a group called Northern Ireland Calais Refugee Solidarity has been set up to organise local collection points for essential items such as camping equipment, clothing, shoes and bedding and organisers are appealing for people to give what they can to support the effort.
Spokesperson, Elaine McCully said: “The Irish Calais Refugee Solidarity group was set up with the aim of collecting clothes and supplies for a convoy of vehicles set to travel from Cork on 29th September. The Northern Ireland group was set up only a matter of days ago and already around two thousand people have pledged their support in one way or another with a number of regional groups being established,” she said.
Items currently required are: Heavy duty rubbish bags; Tents, blankets and sleeping bags; Men’s warm winter clothes in sizes small and medium; Men’s hats, scarves and gloves; Men’s runners and walking shoes in standard sizes; Unused toiletry bags, toothpaste and toothbrushes, tissues, razors, shaving foam and soap; Bikes, bike tools, puncture repair kits; Medicine and first aid kits
At the moment, there is no need for women and children’s clothing and blankets and organisers are asking that only items listed are donated. Whilst clothing items, bikes, blankets, sleeping bags and tents may be second hand, they will need to be clean and in good condition.
The local collection points are: Portstewart Clothing Company, the Promenade; Kilrea Sinn Féin office (Mon-Thur: 10.00-16.00, Fri 10.00-13.00).
Additional drop off points are being updated daily and will be posted to the Northern Ireland Calais Refugee Solidarity page on Facebook