Celtic FC Foundation’s green light for Red Cross

IN September, 2015, proceeds from Celtic FC Foundation’s Jock Stein 30th Anniversary Charity Weekend were used towards helping with the humanitarian crisis and some of the funds were given to the British Red Cross.

Almost a year on from the donation of £40,000, we can confirm that – due to the overwhelming backing of Celtic supporters – 3,592 food parcels have been provided to refugees arriving in Greece.

Over one million refugees have entered the country by boat from Turkey since the start of 2015, resulting in a huge humanitarian crisis. This figure continues to increase as people are forced from their homes, fleeing conflict, violence and persecution.

Those who make it across the Mediterranean have suffered horrific journeys, taking great personal risks to get there. More than 4,000 people have died in their attempts to make the crossing and find safety.

Greece became the primary entry point for migrants coming into Europe. In 2015 alone, 856,723 people arrived by sea, undertaking the crossing from Turkey in makeshift and often inadequate boats.

With the closure of the Macedonian-Greek border, and the conclusion of the EU-Turkey deal, over 50,000 people have been left stranded in Greece, where the humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate. The Red Cross is responding both in the islands where people arrived (Lesvos, Kos, Samos and Chios) and at later points of transit (Athens and Idomeni).

Arriving exhausted from a long journey under difficult conditions, refugees need food, water, shelter and security. Many have lost most of their belongings during the journey, and are suffering from conditions such as dehydration, sun/wind burn, cuts and wounds.

The Red Cross work along shorelines and in harbours, in centres and camps set up along the route, in roadside locations, in areas near borders, and in communities, addressing the basic food, health and shelter needs of newly arrived people.

Staff and volunteers can then offer support in relation to reuniting family members, health activities including monitoring and screening and treating patients in field clinics and mobile health units, and longer-term assistance to help refugees negotiate asylum processes.

Tony Hamilton, Celtic FC Foundation CEO, said: “The horror of the refugee crisis really struck a chord with our supporters and they passionately dug deep to make a difference, as they always do.

“Their support has made a huge impact on the ground, where it really matters and helped those who need it most.”

Jen Scott, British Red Cross Refugee Crisis Programme Coordinator, added: “People who arrived in Greece, hungry and thirsty, exhausted from their journey were so grateful to receive the essentials they needed in our food parcels.

“On behalf of the British Red Cross, I would like to pass on their gratitude and ours to Celtic FC Foundation and the supporters for your generous donation to our Europe Refugee Crisis Appeal which provided 3,592 food parcels.”