Foundation Christmas Appeal Spotlight: Refuweegee

As the festive period gets fully underway, Celtic FC Foundation’s Christmas Appeal spotlight series continues with a look at one of Glasgow’s most prominent refugee-focused charities, Refuweegee.

Established in 2015, Refuweegee is at the forefront of initial support to refugees, offering welcome packs and much-needed basic items to displaced individuals arriving in Glasgow. The charity provides a comforting boost for new arrivals in the city, with welcome packs typically containing toiletries and essentials, non-perishable food, and letters of encouragement – and to date, Refuweegee has distributed over 5,000 parcels to those in need.

A beneficiary of past Christmas Appeal campaigns, CEO of Refuweegee, Selina Hales, underlined how Celtic FC Foundation’s support has made an impact on the refugee community, saying:

‘Celtic FC Foundation’s support has helped us reach far more people than we could have imagined. We have not only been able to reach more families, who would otherwise be struggling, but we have also been able to support those families in helping others through volunteering opportunities and projects.’

Owing to the COVID-19 crisis, Refuweegee has faced challenging circumstances throughout 2020, and Selina described the perseverance of the charity despite difficult times, adding: “The last eight months have been a complete whirlwind. We have had to step up to support not only those we usually work with but thousands of other people too.

“We launched our emergency food support packs in response to many individuals and partner organisations getting in touch to advise they were struggling. Within a week, we had delivered over 300 food, toiletries and entertainment packs to people across the city. In eight months, we have now reached almost 12,000 people – and we are continuing to deliver over 150 support packs a week, from food to mobile phones, toiletries to winter footwear.”

As winter takes hold, declining temperatures put an increasing demand on Refuweegee’s resources, requiring additional supplies and weather-appropriate clothing for service users. Selina communicated the charity’s determined focus this Christmas, saying:  “The challenge at this time of year is keeping people warm, keeping people fed and keeping people safe. There is always huge demand for warm clothing, good food and support with travel expenses.

“The £5.76 a week that people claiming asylum are expected to live on does not allow for the luxury of buses so people are walking, whatever the weather. Our job is to make sure that if they have to walk they have comfortable footwear, warm waterproof clothing and a full belly!”

Typically, Celtic FC Foundation’s capacity to help organisations like Refuweegee is only made possible through the outstanding generosity of our supporters, and Selina rounded off by paying tribute to the Foundation and wider Celtic family, saying: “It’s always hard to find the words to express how grateful we are to all those who make what we do possible. We get to see the joy that every donation brings in the faces of those we deliver support to and the messages of thanks that we receive from recipients.

‘Put simply, the support of Celtic FC Foundation brings smiles, both from our team and from those we reach with your support – thank you.’

Through the Appeal, we want to help hundreds of local families, giving them the kind of Christmas most of us take for granted. With lots of food on the table and gifts for the kids. Making sure Santa pays a visit on Christmas Eve, despite COVID-19.

We also want to support pensioners on our doorstep, by lending a hand at a difficult time of year. Local charities need our help too. We can make a massive difference to the lives of children, refugees, the homeless and those living in refuge.

Further details on the Christmas Appeal phase of the Football for Good Fund and how you can get involved, can be found HERE

The generosity and compassion of the Celtic Family is truly unique and unrivalled and we thank you for your magnificent support.