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Paisley Buddies Rally Round for Social Good

paisley fire

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]Paisley Buddies Rally Round for Social Good. The people of Paisley have once again rallied round to help others in need this weekend and what an eventful couple of days it has been..

We have had the disappearance of a young 8 year old in Gallowhill, and when notified, the community rallied round on Facebook and Twitter, people immediately went out in their cars or on foot to the area looking for her, police were heavily involved and people far and wide including comedian Jason Manford all helped spread the news.

It took less than an hour to find the young girl and she was re-united with mum who was shaking with nerves.
The mum then took to Facebook to thank everyone who had helped in the search.

We also had emergency calls for the swans on the River Cart as four of their new cygnets were found swimming in a dumped container of oil and one of the four young swans had gone missing and feared dead.

swans

Luckily again the community rallied and volunteers at www.paisley.org.uk had organised the SPCA, Hessilhead Wildlife Rescue Centre and the police to go down to make sure all was well. We also had people go down and watch out for them till help arrived and luckily Hessilhead Wildlife Rescue Centre staff came and gave them a health check and will keep an eye on them for the next couple of days until any sign of danger has passed.

Then there were reports of a fire at the West End of Town this morning and as the day went on the building collapsed and was destroyed, unbeknown to us there were 17 people living in the flats above the shop that was on fire.

paisley fire

A family of five were left on Well Street (3 children – 2 months 6 year old boy and 2 year old girl) literally in the clothes they left the house in and the kids had no shoes. A member of the public picked them up and took them to their temporary accommodation which was organised by Renfrewshire Council at Gleniffer Hotel in Paisley. Two families are now in temporary accommodation there.

There was a massive cry for help for the families who literally lost everything in the fire and had nothing left.

A collection centre was organised at the West End community centre and the Lagoon Leisure Centre which took the bulk of donations that were asked for, from nappies and wipes for the baby, shoes and clothing for the kids and clothing and necessities for the adults.

lagoon

People from all around including Clydebank, Renfrew, Erskine and surrounding areas of Paisley have came together for the families and the collection point at the Lagoon Leisure Centre was swamped with donations.

Jenna Givens who set up the facility said. “After smelling the smoke and seeing the posts on Facebook I couldn’t sit still. People were talking but action needed to be taken.

Paisley and by extension Scotland as a nation have proved on many an occasion they are more than willing to pull together in a crisis. I tried my best to secure a venue and in less than 1 hour the Lagoon offered me a facility.

From there I attempted to use Facebook for “the greater good” and it went viral. All of a sudden 30+ volunteers over the course of the day offered their helping hands to collect the generous donations from Renfrewshire.

Police liaised with myself and allowed enough information to tell us how many people we were appealing for. I met two of the families amongst the devastation, humbled with gratitude and sincerely thankful for all we have done.

The support continues tomorrow for them and we are sticking by them until they are on their feet again. A page has been set up for fundraising and we can only hope people will dig as deep into their pockets as they did into their wardrobes.

Sincere thanks from me for the kind messages people have sent. I am merely the middleman (woman) who set up base for people to extend their generosity further.”

The families now have emergency packs and have also been given lots of kind donations including a free slap-up meal from The Ark (next to Sma’ Shot Cottages) and cash donations to help them get by.

People have literally been in tears at the generosity of the public and just how Paisley has come together over a weekend to help complete strangers.

I can only speak for myself (Brian McGuire of paisley.org.uk), it has been a crazy weekend and one of the busiest social weekends for some time, I have had thousands of tweets and hundreds of Facebook posts over the last couple of days, the Paisley Buddies really are the salt of the earth and amazing when times of need come calling. I am always proud to come from Paisley but this weekend I am especially so… well done everyone.

My word of the weekend is Social Good and it definitely has been a weekend for Paisley Buddies to Rally Round for Social Good.

Credit: Picture of fire courtesy of Michael James.[/vc_column_text][vc_separator icon=”star”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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M&S cheque presentation to George Street fire victims

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M&S cheque presentation to George Street fire victims

BIG-HEARTED shoppers in Paisley town centre rallied round in their usual generous fashion to support a worthy cause.

Caring staff at the busy Marks and Spencer store in the High Street were so dismayed when they learned five families had lost everything after fire gutted their homes, they organised a bucket collection to raise money to help the victims.

From left - Laura Kirkland; Greg McGoldrick, from M&S; George Street fire victim, Karen McAvoy; Paul Luby and Cath Menzies, from M&S.

(From left – Laura Kirkland; Greg McGoldrick, from M&S; George Street fire victim, Karen McAvoy; Paul Luby and Cath Menzies, from M&S.)

The George Bar and flats in Causeyside Street, Paisley were destroyed in the blaze that broke out in the early hours of Sunday, February 24 leaving 24 people homeless. What remained of the building had to be demolished.

A team of fundraisers at the popular store organised buckets to be set up at the check-outs where customers could donate their loose change and it wasn’t long before they got the backing of Buddies.

Now a cheque for  £1,171 to be split among the families who lost their homes has been collected by young mum, Karen McAvoy who was left with nothing after the fire.

From left – Paul Luby; Cath Menzies, from M&S; George Street fire victim, Karen McAvoy; Laura Kirkland and Greg McGoldrick, from M&S.

(From left – Paul Luby; Cath Menzies, from M&S; George Street fire victim, Karen McAvoy; Laura Kirkland and Greg McGoldrick, from M&S.)

Karen, 30, said: “It is quite incredible that complete strangers would want to help in this way. Everyone lost everything that night and I know I speak on behalf of all the families when I say we are really grateful for this donation.

“I had no idea at all that this was happening and it was very kind of people to think about those who lost so much when the fire broke out.

“I would like to thank all those involved at Marks and Spencer and all the customers who donated when they were shopping in the store. It really is appreciated and will mean so much to those who not only lost their homes but everything in them too.

“I cannot thank everyone enough and will use my share to buy a few bits and pieces for my new place.”

Karen told how she had just gone on holiday to Spain with her seven-year-old son, Connor the day before and was devastated when she got a call from home to say there had been a fire at the property.

She said:”I called the police at Mill Street and asked them to make sure my front door was secure until we got back to Paisley. What I didn’t realise at the time that all that was left was my front door and there was nothing else left to secure.

“Everything was gone. We had lost it all. I started to Google what had happened and quickly realised it was more serious that I could ever have imagined. We decided to stay for the rest of our break so I had a few days before I had to deal with the reality of it all.

“This donation is so welcome and will be a nice boost for all those concerned.”

Joyce Kirk, manageress at M&S, in Paisley High Street, said: “The staff who took this fund raising effort on board voluntarily were terrific in organising this collection and they tell me the response from the public was magnificent.

“It was a real team effort from everyone who helped set up the collection and those who shop in our store in Paisley. So it is well done to all.”

Mark Macmillan, leader of Renfrewshire Council and chairman of Paisley Vision Board, said: “Paisley means many things to many people, but no one can deny that Paisley Is…a caring place.

“Our town centre stores always play a huge role in supporting those causes which affect the lives of people in Paisley and elsewhere in Renfrewshire. It is testimony to the hard work of the staff at Marks and Spencer and the generosity of their customers that such an excellent sum of money was raised for those families who lost so much in the George Street fire.”