As Lara moves on after four years of hard work with CamCRAG, we wanted to say thank you.
The first formal meeting of CamCRAG was in a pub in the summer of 2015, where Lara was nominated as chair of the Finance and Fundraising Sub-Committee, despite a little resistance on her part. It was only a few weeks until, under her leadership, it was the strongest sub-committee and soon the sub-committees were joined into the Executive Committee with Lara as the Chair.
Lara’s time as Chair began in the most intense moments of the growing refugee solidarity movement, as CamCRAG strived to provide as much volunteer and material support as possible to the 10,000 people in the Calais ‘Jungle’ camp and quick strategic funding to projects in Greece.
From our early days, reacting to every disaster and need in Calais to the careful work of registering as a charity and working in a post ‘Jungle’ world where refugees are no longer front-page news, there were many fundraisers, volunteers coming and going, issues, queries, changes, policies, all learned as we went, all with Lara right in the middle of it providing calm leadership and somehow masses of her own time, while holding down an intense job and raising a family.
Even as Lara finally resigned as Chair after two years of gruelling service, she found a new role in CamCRAG creating and leading the fantastic Poncho Project. We now say goodbye to Lara as she steps down from the Poncho Project, leaving it in the capable hands of Kirsten and Jane.
CamCRAG is proud to be a grassroots organisation formed by a massive group of self-motivating people, so you won’t find any articles or descriptions about ‘founders’ or their visions or personal journeys. But, if there is one person who has done the most to hold the organisation together, leading it from its beginnings until after the dismantling of the Calais ‘Jungle’, guiding it to become a registered charity and the force it remains today, then that person is Lara.
“When we joined the Poncho team, Lara had already got the project up and running and all we had to do was step in and help. She was ambitious but also very practical and always willing to listen to new ideas. It has been great fun working with Lara on the project and we are both honoured to carry it forwards.” Jane and Kirsten (firstname.lastname@example.org)