North East aid mission supports Romanian orphans
Published by Kelly Elliott for Derwentside Homes Ltd in Housing and also in Communities
From l-r: Terry Scarr (GMB), Bill Wilkinson (Derwentside Homes), Cllr Linda Marshall (Chairman of Durham County Council) and Amanda Chilton and Steve Melvin (Derwentside Homes).
Three vans filled with much needed aid are making their way from County Durham to Romania to support children living in extreme poverty.
Items such as food, clothes, bedding, medical supplies and beds will be donated to schools, orphanages and hospitals in the town of Bacau during the annual aid trip, which is organised by the GMB union.
The mission is being supported by local businesses, including local housing association Derwentside Homes which is providing one of the vans being used for the 1,800-mile journey.
GMB senior organiser Terry Scarr said: “We’ve been making these trips for more than 20 years now and we know what a difference it makes to the lives of these children.
“Bacau is in one of the poorest areas of Romania, the conditions can still be pretty appalling and there is a lack of some basic provision such as food and blankets.
“Thanks to the generosity of local people and business we can help make life a bit easier for the orphans and the people who care for them.”
Geraldine Wilcox, Chief Executive of Derwentside Homes said: “The GMB do a fantastic job organising the trip each year and we were delighted to be able to support them this year by providing a van.
“Our staff have also got right behind the mission and have been donating goods such as food and clothes which will be given to the children.”
Among the items being transported to Romania are toothpaste, toothbrushes, nappies, paracetamol, antiseptic creams and non-perishable foods such as rice, pasta and corned beef – all of which have been donated by local people.
Winters in Romania can be very cold and members of local churches have knitted blankets, hats, gloves and jumpers which will be given to the orphans, with the donated items distributed by the charity Aid for Romanian Children.
Durham County Council, which supports the trip each year, has once again provided a truck which will be used to transport hospital beds, donated by St Cuthbert’s Hospice.
In addition, the vehicle rental company Burnt Tree has also provided a van and East Durham Homes has donated £250 towards diesel for the trip.
In previous years, similar aid missions have taken place to Durham’s twin city Kostroma, in Russia, and Chernobyl in Ukraine.