Sheffield team launches auction to fund trip to help refugees in Sicily

Members of Form, an internship gap year at St Thomas Philadelphia church in Sheffield, are holding an auction to raise 5,000 to fly to Sicily and work with refugees.
Members of Form, an internship gap year at St Thomas Philadelphia church in Sheffield, are holding an auction to raise 5,000 to fly to Sicily and work with refugees.

A group of Sheffield young people are holding an auction to raise the money they need to help refugees and trafficked women.

Twenty-five members of Form, an internship gap year at St Thomas Philadelphia church off Infirmary Road, hope to fly to Sicily to join a project run by the Jesus Generation charity.

Sicily, where thousands of refugees have arrived since 2014.

Sicily, where thousands of refugees have arrived since 2014.

The aim of the mission trip is to provide food, clothing and shelter for the many vulnerable people who arrive on the Italian island by boat every month.

The trip will cost £5,000, and the group has launched an auction to help raise the money.

Prizes have been donated by Sheffield United and Sheffield Wednesday, The Showroom, The Leadmill, Thyme cafe and much more.

Beth Cutting, a member of the Form leadership team, said the mission would make a ‘significant’ difference to refugees and trafficked women living in Sicily.

“There has been a huge influx of refugees to Sicily in recent years, meaning an ever-growing need to help families who have been forced to leave their homes,” she said.

“Our young adults will be doing practical work on the land there, and helping with Jesus Generation’s already-established work with refugees, providing for their basic needs such as clothing, food and accommodation.

“Please come and take part in our wonderful auction - all bids will be gratefully received.”

The auction is being run on the Facebook group “Siselli - Online Auction”. Bids are being taken until Sunday.

Among the prizes up for grabs are meals, experiences, day trips, a holiday, hair styling services, gigs, homeware and cleaning, and a signed football from the Blades.

All money raised from the auction will go directly to fund the mission trip to Sicily next month.

Donations can also be made via Form’s Just Giving page at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Form-Network.

About half a million refugees have arrived in Italy from conflict-ridden zones in North Africa and the Middle East, particularly Syria, since the start of 2014, with a record 181,000 arriving in 2016.

Most cross the Mediterranean in over-crowded and dangerous boats. According to the International Organization for Migration there had been 487 refugee deaths in the Mediterranean as of March 2.

That figure compares to 425 during the first two months of last year.

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