Wheatley Group steps in to help charity’s appeal for Syrian refugees

Olga Clayton
Olga Clayton

Wheatley Group has pledged £5000 to kick-start an aid mission for families fleeing the war in Syria, though it has ruled out using Glasgow’s Red Road flats to house any families.

Glasgow the Caring City has launched an appeal to raise £15,000 which will be used to transport a shipment of clothes - donated by people in Scotland - to greet the refugees as they arrive in the Balkans.

The donation to the charity is one of a range of ways Wheatley is supporting the humanitarian effort to help the refugees making their way to Europe.

Glasgow Cathcart MSP James Dornan, who is working closely with Glasgow the Caring City, praised Wheatley for leading the way in supporting the mercy mission.

Wheatley is also appealing to its 2500 staff to donate unwanted clothes and shoes for the charity to take to the refugees.

Mr Dornan said: “This is an incredibly kind gesture by Wheatley Group. After my meeting with Neil and Ross Galbraith from the Caring City on Friday about how to move forward with aid assistance I immediately contacted Martin Armstrong, CEO Wheatley Group, to see if and how they could assist. I was in no doubt they would offer some assistance but am overwhelmed by their generosity.

“This donation, and the call for clothing they are making throughout their organisation, will have a tremendous impact on the refugees fleeing from terror, often with only the clothes they have on their backs. I’m looking forward to working closely with the Wheatley Group, Glasgow the Caring City and all the other partners who are working so hard to make a difference.”

There had been calls for the demolition of the Red Road flats in Glasgow to be halted so they can provide housing for the refugees.

MP for Glasgow North East, Anne McLaughlin, urged the authorities to consider reviewing the programme to knock the six blocks down in a simultaneous explosion in October.

“I know nobody is in these flats now and the final ones are due to come down in mid October. But if it’s in any way feasible for the authorities to halt the demolition programme then I think they should consider doing so,” she said.

“There are also three high flats in Sighthill which people have moved out of in preparation for demolition and maybe they could be left too to provide emergency accommodation for refugees.”

However Wheatley, which owns or manages almost 78,000 homes across Central Scotland, has announced that flats already in the process of being prepared for demolition, such as Red Road, can no longer be used as homes for people.

The Group is also in talks with the Scottish Government, local authorities and charities to identify any other unused properties across Central Scotland which may be suitable for adapting as temporary accommodation for refugees.

Wheatley is made up of five housing associations, including GHA, Dunedin Canmore, Cube, Loretto and West Lothian Housing Partnership, and two commercial subsidiaries – YourPlace and Lowther Homes.

Wheatley Group housing director, Olga Clayton, said: “As Scotland’s largest housing group we want to join people across the country in offering our support to families fleeing Syria. When we heard about Glasgow the Caring City’s appeal to send much-needed clothes and shoes to refugees we wanted to step in and help.

“We are also starting talks with the Scottish Government, councils and other agencies to see what role we could play in helping house some of the refugees as they arrive in the UK.”


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