Last Friday I attended one of my regular meetings with the Hillingdon Nepalese Gurkha Association. It was a well attended discussion of the issues facing our local community.
Little did we know then of the tragedy that would hit the Nepalese people the next day with the earthquake costing so many lives and visiting such suffering on this relatively poor community.
Members of the Hillingdon Nepalese Gurkha Association have been moved by the expressions of sympathy and offers of support they have received from members of the community in Hillingdon.
They would like to turn that support into concrete assistance by launching an appeal in Hillingdon for donations to assist the Nepalese people in this time of need.
I have advised the Association that it may be best to see if this appeal could be undertaken under the auspices of the mayor of Hillingdon's office as this would be seen as the whole community coming together and be more effective as a result.
The Chair of the Association, Mr Surya Emsong, has written to the Mayor to ask therefore whether this appeal and the receipt of donations could be under the auspices of the Mayor's charity appeal. This would enable local people to submit their donations to the council and have the confidence that the funds collected were going to the right place to maximise their effect.
I have also asked the Mayor to support this approach so that we could work together as a whole community to assist the Nepalese people who are suffering so much at present.