CamCRAG is a registered charity who organise regular weekend volunteer convoys from Cambridge to Calais. We also collect donations and funds to help refugees in Europe and beyond.
CamCRAG is a registered charity who organise regular weekend volunteer convoys from Cambridge to Calais. We also collect donations and funds to help refugees in Europe and beyond.
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Report from Vents Contraire

Last year CamCRAG gave Vents Contraire £4,000 for water, sanitation and hygeine services. Libby, Associate Coordinator at the organisation, has given us a report on what they have been doing over the past six months.

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We have been subject to an ongoing legal challenge from the mayor of Ouistreham and the French government to our provision of WASH services. We recently had our (hopefully) final audience at the conseil d’Etat and in early April we should have the judge’s decision. But currently there’s three showers installed, which means that we can focus more on laundry and phone credit, since people have relatively autonomous access to (mostly hot) showers now. 

Funding from CamCRAG, which allowed us to sustain our WASH services throughout the summer and early autumn, has been essential. The charity’s support meant we could keep a regular presence and maintain a strong relationship with the community, in turn allowing us to better understand what types of WASH services are needed and continue advocating for people on the move.

General context from Caen and Ouistreham

Throughout the summer and early autumn, we met more and more people during our distributions, with a steady increase in people requesting various services from Vents Contraires. The most notable increase was in Ouistreham. Here the community is composed of Zaghawa people from the Darfur region, and many people who have just arrived in Europe end up in Ouistreham due to community links. At the end of October, there were around 200 people in the camp.

Last year Vents Contraires, along with five individuals from the camp and four other associations, took legal action against the mayor and prefecture, demanding that they provide access to safe drinking water, toilets and showers within a reasonable distance of the camp. The first hearing took place in June, which the mayor appealed. This was followed by further hearings in July and again in November.

We have now got a tap installed in Ouistreham, with the state recognising their responsibility to provide water. They have also installed a toilet, albeit in a terrible location directly next to the cooking area.

The number of asylum seekers in Caen also increased throughout the year. We installed a large tank for water here in February 2023, initially filling it weekly, but by the summer we were having to fill it twice a week. We also started offering support to sex workers in the area, most of whom are women with precarious or irregular immigration status in France.

CamCRAG grant

We received £4,000 from CamCRAG, of which approximately £1,500 was spent on hygiene products, £2,000 on volunteer related expenses, £200 on fuel, £200 on general maintenance, and £100 on SIM subscriptions for phone distributions and our wifi box.