Next Stop Symi 

  a UK registered Charity Reg No 1167494

Final Update: Jan 1st 2023


It is with a mixture of pride and sadness that the trustees of Next Stop Symi have decided to close down the charity from Spring 2023.


This decision has not been taken lightly but the reality is that the need for the charity in its specific role of helping improve the daily lives of refugees arriving on Symi is now no longer there. At the height of the crisis there were over 550 refugees sleeping rough around the harbour front. But now there are less than 30 on the island during the summer months.


Obviously we look back on the past six years with an immense amount of pride for what Next Stop Symi has achieved. - from criss-crossing the UK to collect donated items – to the grand expeditions in our faithful NSS van down across Europe and out to the Greek islands to deliver that clothing and blankets, toys and medical supplies to the frontline helpers on Symi and Samos.


Then there was the fundraising events culminating in the wonderful Greek Food & Music night at our local village hall in Hoxne. And the educational activities, encouraging book collections and letter-writing between pupils at our local schools – and the refugee children out in Symi.


And of course we also take a lot of pride in the relationships and partnerships that the charity was able to establish since it was set up in June 2016 – networking with faith communities and organisations across the UK - then finding the right partners on the ground in Symi and Samos to make sure everything we transported out to the Islands was put to good use improving the quality of life of those people helplessly trapped in mid-flight from the conflict zones in their home countries.


So as we wind up operations, we have decided to donate part of our last remaining funds to help the people of Symi itself who have displayed immense empathy and humanity in dealing with the influx of refugees over the last six years. The money will be split between healthcare and education on the island – specifically contributing towards the purchase of a much needed portable ECG machine for the main town – and helping support local schools.


But whilst Symi seems well on the road to recovery, our decision to close is also tinged with sadness - because we know that the refugee crisis around the world is still very much an ongoing challenge – and still needs a lot of work before it is solved.


So that is why we have decided to take the balance of those remaining funds and donate it to the Campain of Hope organised by the  Association of Ukrainian Women in Britain. Again, we feel confident that because we have a personal contact with the organisation, the money will be put directly hard to work to make a difference to the everyday lives of those suffering through a hard and cold winter in  Ukraine.


So once again we would like to thank everyone who helped support Next Stop Symi and hope that we have in the last six years made some small contribution to alleviating the terrible hardships that refugees experienced crossing the Aegean. -


The Trustees of NEXT STOP SYM


Peter Vidal,  a Trustee of Next Stop Symi,   handing over of the ECG machine and staff lockers to Doctor Adonis Zabetas at the Symi health clinic.

We also have provided blood pressure monitors and oximeters.