Labour ‘not afraid to make case for Syrian refugees’ in Northampton, says councillor, after Calais camp collection

Rufia Ashraf launched a food collection for the Helping Hands charity earlier this month and has received hundreds of items.

Rufia Ashraf launched a food collection for the Helping Hands charity earlier this month and has received hundreds of items.

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Hundreds of tins, bottled drinks and an espresso coffee machine are among items Northampton folk have donated to refugees in Calais as part of a bid by a local councillor.

The opposition Labour group on the borough council has backed calls to make Northampton a “Town of Sanctuary” as part of a national scheme encouraging towns to take a fair share of Syrian refugees displaced by the war there.

As a result, Councillor Rufia Ashraf (Lab, St James) launched an appeal for people in her ward to donate food for refugees currently held at makeshift migrant camps in Calais, France.

The food will be passed to the charity Helping Hands, which will then distribute it to the camps.

Councillor Ashraf said the good response to the collection shows there is a groundswell of support for the refugees here in Northampton.

She said: “The response to our call for a collection of food for refugees has been fantastic. We’ve received donations from councillors from all main political parties as well as from local organisations.

“Labour Councillors are not afraid to keep making the case why we have a moral obligation to accept Syrian refugees into Northampton.

“We will keep making the case at every opportunity in the future to make Northampton a town of sanctuary. I’m still receiving food donations now and we hope to do this again in future.”

Councillor Ashraf says she intends to start a collection for winter clothes in the coming weeks.