Launched in December 2015, Glasgow based charity Refuweegee was set up to support and welcome refugees coming to the city.

Providing welcome packs, events and volunteering opportunities, founder and director Selina Hales wanted everyone to feel the warm welcome Glasgow is known for.

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Over the course of the pandemic, Refuweegee have been providing support packages for people who have found themselves struggling as a result of their circumstance.

Starting in March, the charity began to receive requests from organizations, worried about people they thought might be struggling.

Initially providing basic essentials of food and toiletries, their support packages began to grow. With stock donated by North East Food Bank, Refuweegee were receiving requests of up to 200 a day.

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As restrictions began to tighten and schools started to close, the charity decided to add to their packages to help support children and parents.

Hales said: “The idea of parents having to entertain kids, try and homeschool them with no access to laptops, iPads, smartphones. And to then not have pen and paper or basic things to keep families entertained, so we started to add entertainment packs.”

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Speaking to their reasoning for starting this initiative, Hales spoke simply of our duty to help one another: “We tend not to go down the route of who’s rule this is.

“We are structured in a way that we can respond quickly and effectively to that problem. The way we do our welcome packs is our trust and absolute faith in the existing Glasgow community who can do more.

HeraldScotland: Image credit: Robert PerryImage credit: Robert Perry

“We know that they’ll do it. We know that all we need to do is ask people to help and get involved and to think of others. And we know people will respond.”

Hales praises the help and support received by the Scottish Government, while receiving almost 200 requests a day to their small team of three people, they began to question what they were doing.

“We can meet the demand for some people, but this felt like we might be doing the entire city. How can this many people be struggling?

“Someone needs to step up. And the Scottish Government did step up.”

The Scottish Government fully funded the food and toiletries provision for six months, allowing Refuweegee to continue reaching the most vulnerable in the city.

HeraldScotland: Image credit: joshcroll.comImage credit: joshcroll.com

The charity set up a text based system, those in need text the word ‘pack’ when in need of essentials.

The packs provided are a combination of donations and items bought by the charity, and they are always looking for more volunteers. Information on how to get involved and help Refuweegee can be found on their website: https://www.refuweegee.co.uk/