A convoy of Cambridge residents is heading to Calais this weekend taking food and a caravan as volunteers warn the refugee camp there is growing by the day.
35 people will take 8 cars on a ferry crossing to Calais on Friday for a weekend of work at the Jungle camp organised by Cambridge Calais Refugee Action Group. As well as helping tidy the site and assist with local aid projects the group will be taking £1,600 worth of food to support the volunteer-run kitchens in the camp and other donated items including a laptop, a sewing machine and books on learning English as a foreign language.
The group will also be delivering a caravan which was bought and refurbished by a group of friends. Staff at the Debbie Bliss Home shop in Walthamstow were inspired by reading about previous donations of caravans which have gone from the UK to Calais recently and decided to do something similar.
Debbie Bliss, owner of the shop, said: “We raised enough money to buy, renovate and equip a caravan and it is now ready to go. We dedicated it to our friend Ishwer Sahotey, a talented , award winning filmmaker and photographer, who died let year at the age of 26. The caravan is called Esprit de Ishwer.”
Lara Brettell, Chair of CamCRAG, said: “We’re really pleased to be linking up with other groups around the country who are doing their bit to help the refugees in Calais.There is a strong network of people across the UK raising money and sending volunteers to the camp.
“Although it may not be top of the news agenda currently, the refugee crisis in Europe is bigger than ever. In Calais it is particularly precarious – there were more than 7,000 counted in the last census in July with up to 100 arriving a day. It is expected that by September the numbers may well be up to 10,000. There are 761 children there – 608 of those are unaccompanied.
“We will continue to help in any way we can for as long as these refugees need our help.”
The French authorities have announced that the ‘Jungle’ may be totally demolished in September, and there is currently nowhere for the population to be relocated to in France.
You can follow the convoy’s activities in Calais throughout the weekend on our Twitter feed at www.twitter.com/Camb4Calais