VOLUNTEERS from Refugee Aid from Taunton (RAFT) gathered to celebrate their 85th shipment of donations. 

On Saturday, volunteers, family and friends gathered at the warehouse to celebrate the group's first birthday and a mammoth amount of donations they have sent off to help refugees throughout Europe. 

The day kicked off at 10.30am, and lasted until 7pm when one of the partner organisations Anaya Aid left with three vans full of donations. 

Founder, Federica Smith, said: "It was an incredible day. 

"We have a great turn out and managed to raise more than £1,000.

"Now we will work with our partner organisations to find out what they need so we can buy that in bulk to give to them. 

"It was fantastic to see so many people and for us to learn more about the help we give. 

"I started RAFT as I was so moved by the coverage of the refugees. I kept thinking what it would be like if it was me and I knew I had to help. It was all running smoothly, and now they are facing a civil war."

RAFT works within the community alongside charities and organisations such as Taunton Association for the Homeless and Open Door. The groups swap goods with one another depending on what each group needs. 

Miss Smith says no donation ever goes to waste. 

RAFT is always looking for volunteers, even people donating thirty minutes of their time, or using their skills such as sowing to help out. 

The warehouse is open on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday from 10-3. Thursdays are the group's mend and send days where the volunteers fix up old items and turn them into something new. 

Miss Smith added: "We managed to make five more shipments at our open day. 

"We are always looking for volunteers to come and help out. We can use everybody's skills in one way or another. 

"We have all turned into a bit of a family here. We are feel like we are making a difference."

MP for Taunton Deane Rebecca Pow visited the warhouse during the open day. 

She said: “RAFT are doing a wonderful job supporting refugees in Syria and other places, for example; Uganda.

"I was so pleased to visit their warehouse on Saturday and to meet the many dedicated volunteers giving up their time to do such good work.

"I would urge anyone with unwanted clothing, bedding, cuddly toys as well as tinned foods, particularly vegetables, to drop them down to the centre.

"They’ll be put to good use and will be really welcomed by those in need.”