A Cambridge city councillor is joining the convoy to the refugee camps in Calais this weekend (July 2/3) to see the impact of recent damage and to show solidarity after the EU referendum result.
Cllr Donald Adey is an active campaigner and fundraiser on refugee issues and is already a supporter of Cambridge Calais Refugee Action Group. He will be joining a convoy of 25 people organised by CamCRAG and heading to the camp known as The Jungle this weekend to help restore shelters, deliver aid and distribute food.
He hopes to share his experiences with his fellow councillors on his return and update them on the work being carried out by Cambridge residents in Calais. The city council voted recently for Cambridge to become a City of Sanctuary – a show of support from the city for refugees made homeless by civil war, torture and terrorism.
This week is Refugee Week and a series of events have been held in the city as part of the new City of Sanctuary partnership.
Cllr Adey said: “This is my second visit to Calais, but my first since I was elected onto the city council. I was elected to represent the views of my constituents, and many people locally have told me how concerned they are about the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Europe as people from Syria, Sudan, Eritrea and elsewhere try to find safety and shelter.
“Cambridge has responded in an amazing way to this crisis, with groups like CamCRAG and the Cambridge Refugee Resettlement Campaign being formed, fundraising events and appeals being organised and regular convoys heading out to make a real difference on the ground.
“The result of the EU Referendum was for many a sign that there is a real fear about immigration across the UK. It is now vital that we show those in this desperate situation that we will continue to do all we can to help them. They don’t want to live on a muddy piece of wasteland in Northern France, they don’t even want to live in the UK – they want to live in their home countries in safety, but for most that is just not possible.”
On his first visit to Calais Cllr Adey was representing St Columba’s Church in Cambridge, where he chairs their World Mission Group.
Recently tensions between different groups and overcrowding in the camp resulted in fire and violence breaking out. Hundreds were left without shelter and the incident showed just how inhumane the conditions are in The Jungle. CamCRAG immediately launched an emergency appeal and £750, donated by supporters, will be given to trusted organisations in the camp helping to restore shelters.