Helen is on a mission to help child refugees
Holiday sparks volunteering stint at cafe in Athens
A big-hearted Blairgowrie woman is off to Athens this weekend to volunteer with a charity that supports refugee children in Greece.
Helen Docherty (51) was inspired to do something to help after she saw refugees in the Greek capital while on a recent holiday to the popular tourist destination.
She explained: “We go through Piraeus port regularly and last time we were there I saw a man with all his belongings and when we came back 10 days later after a lovely holiday on the islands he was still there.
“We saw lots of children as well, kids whose shoes didn’t fit, and I thought I needed to something about it.
“When I get an idea I can’t shake it off so I looked up volunteering in Athens online and heaps of opportunities came up.
“Through that I got myself and my friend from Dublin a volunteers’ job and accommodation.”
Helen and her friend will be working in the Hope Cafe in Athens, which aims to provide nutritious meals for those unable to support themselves in Athens.
They will be there for two weeks initially, which is the recommended length of time for first-time volunteers.
Helen, who used to run a pizza shop in Blairgowrie, said: “There are a lot of refugees in Athens and on the islands and the cafe offers free food during the day and then takes food to the refugee camps at night.
“I think we’ll probably be cooking in the cafe but we won’t know for sure until we get there and see what they need us to do.
“We’re paying for our trip ourselves but I’ve also been fundraising before we go as I want to take some money with us to spend it when we are out there on whatever is needed - whether that is dishcloths or kitchen utensils for the cafe or shoes for the children I don’t know.
“It’s difficult to know what to expect but we want to do as much to help as we can while we are out there.”
As part of her fundraising efforts, Helen held a bingo tea in Blairgowrie Bowling Club last week which raised over £400.
She said: “I would like to thank everyone who came to the bingo tea and everyone who donated prizes, including the Dalmore Inn, Tesco, Vitality, the Co-op and Apso. Thanks also to Betty Marshall who has helped me so much with this.
“This is the first time I have done anything like this, although I was involved in the Relay for Life in Blairgowrie a few years ago.
“I’m feeling excited and nervous but will make sure all the cash goes to worthy causes out there.”
Meal maker Helen Docherty (right), pictured with Betty Marshall at her fundraising bingo tea in Blairgowrie last week, is heading to Athens to help refugee children in the city