Blandford Service Community Fiji relief effort
Following Cyclone Winston, the Garrison rallied together with local communities to provide aid to the struggling families
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Jo Wallace, who works as a SSAFA volunteer alongside her full time role at Blandford Garrison, has written a short blog peice about the relief effort from the In-Service community:
Following the devastation that Cyclone Winston caused to the beautiful islands of Fiji, Blandford Garrison In-Service Committee were approached for assistance. At the time there were approximately 11 Fijian families housed on the garrison, living and working within the community, all of which had families back home that had been directly affected by the cyclone.
After a presentation to the committee, it was unanimously agreed to support their efforts by contributing towards the cost of the ISO container and associated port taxes. The rest of the garrison community, alongside Downlands School, the Army Welfare Service (AWS) and the local Rugby Club soon rallied round and donations of tents, clothes, toys, equipment and bedding came flooding in. Collection points were set up and those donating had the opportunity to view videos and detailed information about the damage the cyclone had caused and how their donations would be used.
Three members of the Fijian community went across to Fiji to meet the container and ensure the items sent did not get inadvertently sucked into the main relief effort. They arranged onward transportation to the correct islands and villages ensuring the relief would be directly helping families of the Blandford Fijian community.
Reports and photographs sent back to Blandford have been published locally, showing supporters that the project has been a great success. And whilst the relief distribution continued in Fiji, some of the Fijian community back in Blandford volunteered to assist the AWS team with their fundraising ‘Bacon Butty’ mornings. Extra dates were added to the schedule and a total of £1241.75 was presented to the SSAFA committee by way of thanks for the assistance and support the Fijian community had received.