Resident of Cults aims to donate £1000 to Aberdeen charity GREC by selling home-made masks

Cults resident Françoise Stolte aims to raise a £1000 for charity by selling home-made masks which can be purchased in the street.

Françoise, a mental health counsellor, began making masks in May with the initial intention being to provide her husband and two boys something to protect themselves when they were out and about.

Now Françoise is distributing masks in the street, suggesting people make a £4 donation for each mask, the proceeds of which are going to local charity Grampian Regional Equality Council.

Françoise is also receiving help from friends, the proceeds of their masks going to Halfpenny Farm Animal Sanctuary in Inverurie.

Françoise sells the masks from a stall in the street in mens’ and womens’ sizes

-The mask making society; setting up a network of mask makers

Françoise told The Reporter she is surprised and delighted with the money she has raised.

Françoise said: “The original idea was to raise awareness in the community that wearing a mask was a good idea. Raising the money for the charity is a bonus that has gone way over expectations. The connections that have been built with people from all walks of life has been absolutely amazing.”

Françoise’s son Flynn has been helping out

General Manager for GREC David Black said any help the charity receives is a bonus.

Mr Black said: “As a charity that’s providing services like counselling and advice for individuals who have faced prejudice, discrimination, hate crime, and other related issues in Aberdeen, it really makes a massive difference to get these kinds of donations because it means we can do a lot more.”

GREC, based on Union Street, supports those who have been discriminated against

Mr Black says the money will go to providing direct support for people who have been subjected to discriminatory abuse.

Mr Black said: “It’s important for us to provide a one-to-one counselling space enabling people to be able to move on with their lives so the money will go towards that. We want to cover volunteering expenses and pay for training for counsellors and to cover external supervision costs.”

Councillor for the ward of Lower Deeside Marie Boulton said covid-19 has seen a rise of support networks such as Françoise’s.

Ms Boulton said: “Covid-19 certainly doesn’t discriminate and causes upset and isolation in many parts of our communities. However, it has also been the catalyst for the rise of local support networks and acts of great kindness and compassion. I’m sure Françoise will reach her target and I applaud all who have used such a dark time in the world to bring rays of joy and hope by acts of kindness”

Guidelines on the use of face coverings hazy

Scotland entered phase three of the road out of lockdown on July the 10th which made face coverings mandatory in shops.

In England face coverings became mandatory on Friday 24th. Anyone south of the border refusing to put a face covering on whilst shopping could be subject to an on-the-spot £100 fine.

Françoise’s youngest son Flynn has been cycling round collecting donated material

The use of face coverings in the battle against coronavirus has been controversial with many debating whether they actually make a difference.

Dr Akhtar Hussein, an ENT surgeon who served at Albyn Hospital for over thirty years, said it was “nonsense” that face coverings hadn’t been made mandatory from the very beginning of lockdown and feels the government had “lost focus” in the battle to stop the spread of the virus.

Dr Hussein said: “Coronavirus is regarded as a respiratory disease because the portal of entry is the respiratory system, so you should first of all protect the respiratory tract and that is why masks are so critical.”

Françoise makes some masks out of material she acquired in Africa

Françoise’s masks can be purchased on the street at the top of Abbotshall Road, but be quick because she is going to take a break once she has reached her £1000 target. You can also order by texting Françoise on 07514 043 851.

The CBM Community Facebook page has further information about contacting local mask makers to donate materials and purchase masks.

If you need advice in matters where you feel you have been discriminated you can contact GREC through their website: grec.co.uk.

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