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Strong support for refugees across Scotland

Published: 30 Sep 2015 12:00

Social Justice Secretary applauds effort made by Dundee group.

More than 1,200 offers of practical support and assistance have come from across Scotland on the website set up by the Scottish Government and Scottish Refugee Council to coordinate the country's response to the refugee crisis.

Through the Scotland Welcomes Refugees website www.scotlandwelcomerefugees.scot people from all corners of the country have offered everything from English language tuition to children's play-dates with refugee families.

Alex Neil, Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, welcomed the huge levels of support at a Dundee centre which has become one of the biggest hubs for refugee aid in Scotland.

Mr Neil visited the home of Dundee Refugee Support this morning, where he met with volunteers who have coordinated donations for refugees fleeing persecution and conflict.

The group has fast become one of Scotland's most active in refugee support, raising more than £5,000 in its first two weeks of operation. A clothing collection has also exceeded expectations, with three lorry-loads now ready to travel to different parts of Europe.

Following a tour of the centre, Mr Neil said:

"Scotland is a caring and compassionate country, and we stand ready to help in any way we can. The response in Dundee, and across Scotland, has been fantastic so far. We have seen more than 1,200 offers of practical support come in from across Scotland on our website www.scotlandwelcomerefugees.scot

"The offers of help and support have been overwhelming, and the success of organisations like Dundee Refugee Support shows the strength of feeling and care for ensuring those caught up in this global crisis are helped in any way possible.

"This group is an excellent example of people coming together and taking practical steps to help the most vulnerable.

"We cannot ignore those in need, and we will continue to make representations on behalf of the people of Scotland to the UK Government and in European Institutions advocating our position that we must and should do more now because we know that it is the right thing.

"We are still seeing thousands of families desperately searching for somewhere safe to live, and we are again urging the UK Government to opt in to the EU relocation scheme."

Notes to editors

The work of Scotland's operational task force is well underway and we will make sure that Scotland is ready to give the very best of Scottish welcomes to the refugees who are fleeing their homes and seeking protection, safety and security.

The Scotland Welcomes Refugees website has now received more than 13,500 visitors, with offers of befriending services, accommodation and language and translation support coming from Dundee.