Local community shows support for Syrian refugees

Tracy Deb with donations collected for Syrian refugees.

Since widespread civil war broke out in Syria in 2011, refugees have been fleeing the country at an increasing rate. The ongoing Syrian refugee crisis has seen millions of refugees displaced across different parts of the world and it is now estimated that 500,000 Syrian migrants and refugees have entered the EU in 2015.

As the crisis worsens, many communities across the UK have begun to set up collection schemes and fundraisers which aim to provide essential aid to Syrian refugees across Europe. South Gloucestershire Council has recently announced that it will provide humanitarian support to those who have sought refuge in the UK.

The council is currently assessing its capacity to house and support the refugees and is working closely with the government to ensure they are able to provide essential services in what is a fast developing situation. Councillor Matthew Riddle, Leader of South Gloucestershire Council said:

“We have all seen and been disturbed by the images of suffering caused by the terrible conflict in Syria and wanted to know how we can help to ease that suffering and the community response from residents has been so heart-warming.”

In Bradley Stoke, local bridal makeup artist Tracy Deb has been leading her own fundraising efforts to support the refugees:

“I saw images of the Syrian refugee crisis on TV and it really upset me and I just wanted to do something to help. For me, this is not politically, racially or religiously motivated, but purely humanitarian.”

Tracy began by contacting a Syrian refugee solidarity group on Facebook and connecting with Shazia Malik – a local woman based in Stoke Gifford who offered to help Tracy distribute a number of toiletry packs to refugees stranded in Calais and Hungary.

Using her strong following on social media, Tracy encouraged local friends and clients to donate supplies for the toiletry packs. She received a wide array of donations, including a supply package from London, which allowed her to create individual toiletry packs designed for men, women and young children:

“It’s been amazing, people have been really generous and kind. It shows what kind of community we have around here. We’ve always been a really caring community in Bradley Stoke.”

Tracy is continuing her fundraising for the Syrian refugee crisis with the ‘Paint a Smile’ makeup marathon which will take place on Saturday 24th October at 28 Crows Grove, Bradley Stoke. During the marathon, Tracy will be producing a number of 20-30 minute mini-makeovers in a 12 hour period from 8am-8pm.

All the appointments for the mini-makeovers have now been booked, but the event will be supported by a raffle with many exciting prizes up for grabs, including a family ticket to the Winter Wonderland at the Mall Cribbs Causeway. There will also be tea, coffee, soft drinks and homemade cakes available at the event for a small donation, with all the money raised going to the British Red Cross Syria appeal.

Tracy would like to thank all the people who have supported her fundraising so far, including Sarah and Rylan Bawden and Helen Everett for volunteering time and supplies.

For more information, please contact Tracy Deb at tracydebmakeup@gmail.com or by phone on 07871 839173.

This article originally appeared in the October 2015 edition of the Bradley Stoke Journal news magazine, delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH, to 9,500 homes in Bradley Stoke, Little Stoke and Stoke Lodge. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.

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