MAKING Syrian refugees feel more at home in Clackmannanshire has been at the forefront for one charity in recent times.

Citizens for Sanctuary offers support in the Wee County and Stirling through a range of activities, including a befriending project and monthly snack and chat sessions.

Individuals or families could become befrienders, show the Syrian families around, introduce them to local clubs, or simply be a friendly face in the street or at the school gates.

Alloa resident Michelle McAdoo, Citizen for Sanctuary support worker, first joined the organisation as a volunteer last year.

She was matched up with a family in the town and has spoken positively of the merits of taking part.

Michelle told the Advertiser: "I got involved as a volunteer befriender because I've got a young family myself, so it was something that I could do with my daughter.

"The main thing has been the difference it has made to my own family – meeting somebody from a different culture, experiencing a different language, the amazing food.

"My older children have got to know their kids; it's been a whole family kind of thing.

"It's something that's simple, isn't it? It's like welcoming somebody in and telling them what shops to go to.

"It's nothing complicated – it's literally just befriending folk and making them feel welcome."

The charity, which was set-up as a lobbying group to convince local authorities to take part in the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme, also provides material items to refugees where needed.

In addition, organisers are keen to hear from people who would like to get involved, either on an informal or formal basis, and will hold a training event this weekend.

Through the befriending project, Clacks residents can help their Syrian neighbours to develop English language skills and, generally, become more comfortable in the Wee County.

Rebecca Dadge, project coordinator, said: "It's really about them having as many community connections as possible so that they can become independent and have their own social connections, build their own friendships, find their own routes into employment and feel part of the community.

"And it's the local people that will be able to do that better than people coming from outwith the area, although they are a great help and do a lot, it's the difference of people knowing where that toddler group takes place and chumming a mum along for the first time until she feels comfortable.

"They're very keen to know more Scottish people and get better at understanding the culture and anything that they can do helps them with the language skill in terms of building up their vocabulary and things like that.

"So we're interested in anybody that wants to help us help the Syrians in any way and become more familiar with their surroundings and have more friendly faces when they walk down the street."

For those looking to volunteer, or simply to find out a little more, a training session will be held on Saturday, March 3, in Ludgate Church Halls, Alloa, 10am-1pm.

To book a spot, email or