Concerned residents in Cambridge have responded to scenes of chaos in the Calais refugee camp by sending money to support those providing food for minors left stranded.
After the French Government acted on its threat to move into the camp and evict the residents, many refugees, including children, were left with nowhere to go. Cambridge Calais Refugee Action Group, which was set up a year ago by local residents to raise funds and organise convoys to the camp, has transferred an initial emergency £350 to the Refugee Community Kitchen in Calais which is feeding the children.
The money was the first contribution to the aid effort in Calais from the group’s current appeal to raise £10,000.
Lara Brettell, chair of the group, said: “The situation in Calais is desperate, there have been fires and a huge amount of confusion – we cannot stand by and do nothing. There are hundreds of children without shelter or protection and those on the ground have been desperately trying to find somewhere for them to go.
“These people have fled terrible situations in their home countries and now they are facing a new ordeal.
“Our group was set up by local residents as a humane response to the refugee crisis and the only humane thing to do now is support those left behind the best we can. This money has come from our ongoing appeal to raise £10,000 to help refugees in Northern France. We will continue to make emergency contributions when and where they are needed and the appeal will also fund future convoys – our next one is planned for November and we will be taking food, clothes and other essential items with us.
“Nationally there have been some shameful attacks on the people in the camp and those who show compassion towards them from some sections of the media – but in Cambridge we have seen a huge outpouring of compassion and support. Not only have we raised nearly £4,000 from our appeal in just a few weeks, but we have people stepping forward to organise a series of events in the city to raise funds and awareness.”
For more information on how to help, what CamCRAG is doing to respond to the crisis and to donate to the appeal visit http://www.cambridgecalaisrefugeeaction.org.uk.
Here are some of the events coming up in the city to help raise funds for the appeal
25th November – 8pm-10:30pm– ReSound Choir Concert – St Paul’s Church, Hills Road, Cambridge, CB2 1PJ.
3rd December – Mill Road Fair – Mill Road, Cambridge – We will be running a stall at the winter fair and raising funds.
9th-10th December – The Play About Calais – The ADC Theatre. A play by local playwright Steve Waters with money raised going to fund CamCRAG’s appeal.
10th December – 3.15pm-5.15pm – Carols for Calais: Shake Rattle and Roll – East Barnwell Community Centre, Cambridge. Carols and a Christmas market with something for all the family.
16th December – 6.15pm – Christmas Concert – Christ’s Chapel, Cambridge – A ceremony of carols, Benjamin Britten – conductor Andrew Downes with ‘The Cantabrigians’. Free admission, with a collection for CamCRAG.