Fringe Box



Locals React With Generosity After Calls To Help Refugees

Published on: 27 Aug, 2021
Updated on: 28 Aug, 2021

By Hugh Coakley

A local campaigner said she was “inundated” with gifts and donations after calling for toiletries, bedding, clothes and toys to help refugees from war-stricken countries and families in the area in need.

Helena Lawrence with the donations received for refugees and local families in need.

Helena Lawrence, a survivor of domestic abuse herself who fled with only a car-load of possessions, said she was reminded of those darker days on hearing of the refugee crisis in Afghanistan.

She set up a website for Surrey Refugee Donations on August 20 and has filled her dining room with the donations received so far.

She moved the bags to her front garden and asked her neighbours to help with sorting.

She said the items have now been taken to The Woodman Pub in Ashtead where Ashtead Rotary Club are taking items by the van load to families in need but she added: “Donations are still very much welcome and required, most importantly brand new toiletries, sanitary products and long life tinned food and drinks”.

“I thought, if I was a refugee turning up with nothing, what would I need? There is a real willingness to help others,” she said.

All items donated must be brand new and sealed, if toiletries or bedding, while donated clothes and toys must be in as good as new condition.

If you want to help, you can contact Helena on or go to the website for more details.

Ms Lawrence, who set up the campaign Say No to Berkeley Homes in Effingham, said she had been invited onto BBC Surrey Radio this Sunday to talk about her work to help the refugees.

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