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Refugee aid group looking for new premises

Shetland Solidarity with Refugees has used Brevik House for around two years.

Brevik House on Lerwick's South Road.Brevik House on Lerwick's South Road.

A LOCAL group which collects aid donations for refugee camps is looking for help in securing a new base as Brevik House gets set to be demolished for housing.

Shetland Solidarity with Refugees has been using the building on Lerwick’s South Road for the last two years as a base to receive donations of items like clothing, food and toiletries.

However, site owner Breiwick Bay Properties Ltd received planning permission recently to demolish Brevik House and build over 30 flats and houses.

With the company also previously exploring the idea of building a hotel on the site, Shetland Solidarity with Refugees has always known the premises would be temporary.

It is now wanting to hear from anyone in Lerwick who may have unused space for aid collections as it moves out of Brevik House.

Shetland Solidarity with Refugees is set to send away its seventh shipment in the coming weeks, in addition to a van-load of donations driven from Shetland to Calais in 2016.

Volunteer Rita Smith said the group was “so grateful to the owners of The Brevik for their wonderful support”.

“We now have to decide whether or not we can carry on collecting – if we have to start paying rent and utility bills then we just will have to fold, we can’t afford that,” she said.

“If anybody in Lerwick has an unused space we’d be delighted to hear from them. It would need to be somewhere with space to sort through donations and easy access for the public to drop off, preferably with room outside for our donations bin.

“It’s a tall ask but we really do need this to continue what we do.”

Fellow volunteer Isa Kristiansen-Bragg added: “More than 1,600 people have died or gone missing this year attempting to reach Europe. In the first six months of the year, for every 18 people crossing to Europe, one person died.

“The aid we’ve been kindly given by the community is needed in these camps right now, we just need to raise the funds to send it on its way and help make life in refugee camps a tiny bit more bearable.”

A fundraising Christmas sale and teas will be held on Sunday (18 November) in the Cunningsburgh Hall between 12.30pm and 4pm.

Brevik House, meanwhile, will be open between 12pm and 3pm tomorrow (Tuesday) for people to drop off donations of any kind.

Monetary donations can also be made online via the group’s JustGiving page.