We have recently received a request from Anna, a resident of Woodborough, regarding the plight of refugees in France and Belgium. Bearing in mind the relative luxury that most of us live in, please give this appeal your urgent consideration.
'Calais Refugee Aid' is a small organisation run primarily by a group of people based in the Leeds/Huddersfield area who are making regular collections from Nottingham, Manchester and Huddersfield, and have links with similar collecting groups in Hull.
They make up to weekly trips across to the continent taking van loads of aid. They generally leave the UK after filling their van on a Friday, distributing in Calais on Saturday before heading up to Belgium to distribute there on Sunday prior to returning home. They are all volunteers giving up their own free time.
One of the regular volunteers is a NHS hospital doctor. He is also running an ad-hoc medical service for those they find. Infections are extremely common - especially skin infections and chest Infections, stomach issues too due to the scraping together of food. These people, of course, have the same long term and acute medical problems as we do but they have no reliable medical care to rely on. This means that medical supplies are needed as much as food and the other aid.
Calais refugee aid also work directly with local on the ground charities such as "Belgium Kitchen" who provide nutritious, hot, safe food from a park close to where the main camps/squats are located. The food collected by this appeal will either go directly to the refugees or indirectly to them after being made into meals by these charities. Food stocks are desperately low at present due to the sheer number of people reliant on the aid. One meal a day is a luxury and people are starving, which is just unthinkable in modern day Europe.
Whilst some of the volunteers are there each on each trip, others are just normal people who have heard of the refugee plight and wish to support them. Last week some of these people were Nottingham residents making their first trip. I have not been myself but the lady in Nottingham who is the 'formal collection point' from where the van picks up everything we collect has been out there. She is a lady who wanted to do something meaningful in memory of her mother who died a couple of years ago. She went out intending for it to be a one off but was so moved by the terrible conditions and desperation thatshe has continued to help as much as she possibly can.
Below are some pictures taken at the temporary camps near Dunkirk where men woman and children of all ages including babies who have been born 'on the road' and are just weeks old, older people who have health issues, and heavily pregnant ladies are living. The photos were taken just a few weeks ago. These people have nothing. They are entirely dependent on aid. Some are living in abandoned buildings also but they are all under threat of eviction at any moment. Summer may be here now but winter is not far away.
I feel personally very blessed to have a wonderful family, a comfortable secure home, a career that is fulfilling and that I am able to live a happy life. I am one of the lucky ones. Had I been born somewhere else in the world things could have been very different, therefore I feel the need to give back for my luck hence I would like to support these refugees even if only in a very small way to show them that there are others out there who care. Having grown up in Woodborough I know there are many kind people here and I hope that a few will also feel able to support them in bringing aid, with the occasional moment of relief/happiness, and help restore some of their dignity.
People can help by donating any of the items listed below, but if there is anything else that people feel could be helpful they will gladly receive anything sensible!
What they can't use they will pass on to other charities that can use it. People can also donate money directly through a PayPal account run by the man who coordinates the aid runs. I understand this helps fund the trips - fuel, ferry costs etc.
If anyone should want to donate their time and go out there I will happily put them in touch with the people who can arrange this too.
DONATIONS URGENTLY NEEDED!
Although it’s somewhat fallen out of the news the refugee crisis throughout Europe continues to worsen. Calais Refugee Aid volunteers are making regular visits to France and Belgium to provide aid and medical assistance to refugees, young and old, men, women and children-many of whom have lost everything.
I am collecting donations to go out to these people.
Things urgently needed include:
Medical supplies: paracetamol, rehydration sachets, antihistamines, anti-fungal creams/athletes foot treatments, lice treatments, gaviscon type tablets/antacids, dressings etc.
Non-perishable food items: chickpeas, kidney beans, tinned potatoes, carrots, tomatoes, rice, lentils, halal tinned food, pasta, long-life milk, tea, coffee, cooking oil, salt, sugar...
Toiletries and sanitary items (including nappies)
Clothing - clean and in good condition (especially men’s coats/jumpers) and good condition shoes.
Blankets and towels
If you would like to donate, even if is just a simple packet of paracetamol or can of beans, there is a collection box outside 30 Holme Close, Woodborough.
(Alternatively if you would like to help but require collection please contact Anna on 07740307949)