Want to spend a weekend in Calais making a real difference to refugees’ lives?
Our volunteer convoys leave Cambridge on Friday evenings, returning Sunday evenings. We help organise the car share and pay for the ferry or train crossing, and arrange accommodation at the youth hostel in Calais. You will work two full days with NGOs based in the area who provide direct support to refugees.
Registering for our next Convoy
To register for a convoy you must
– be at least 18 years old on the day the convoy leaves Cambridge
– possess a valid passport issued in the last 10 years with at least 3 months unexpired from the last date of the convoy.
– be prepared to leave Cambridge early on the Friday evening (usually by 6pm) and return on Sunday evening.
Before you register please read our Convoy Handbook (PDF), which includes all requirements for joining our convoys, frequently asked questions, our safeguarding policy and code of conduct.
To register for our convoy of 15 to 17 March please fill in the online form at camcrag.org.uk/convoyregister
Registration will close on 29 February
We aim to send confirmation of the Convoy Plan by Tuesday 5 March
The pre convoy briefing meeting will be held online on Zoom at 8pm on Tuesday 5 March
Registration for our February convoy is now closed
Provisional future convoy dates
15-17 March • 19-21 April • 17-19 May • 28-30 June
Registration for convoys usually opens 4 or 5 weeks before the convoy, and closes 2 to 3 weeks before the convoy.
What’s the need?
Although the Calais camp was dismantled in 2016, there are still many hundreds of refugees living rough in the scrublands around the town, including many children and teenagers, and they are under constant pressure from the police and hostile local government.
The aid groups operating from the warehouse run by L’Auberge des Migrants, which include Refugee Community Kitchen, Collective Aid, Calais Food Collective and Project Play, continue to distribute food, sanitary kits, clothing, tents and sleeping bags, and CamCRAG is proud to support them by sending weekend convoys of donations and volunteers. The warehouse also provides aid to associations operating in Dunkirk, Paris and elsewhere in Europe.
What would I do?
There are numerous tasks that need doing in Calais, and no previous experience is required. Volunteers sort and pack donations, peel and prepare food, load and unload vans. No one is paid and there is a great team spirit – and we often receive an excellent lunch provided by Refugee Community Kitchen (RCK).
Though we often work with RCK and they are very keen for support, they are sadly not able to operate every weekend due to volunteer shortages. It is therefore possible that you will be working in the warehouse for the weekend. Be assured whatever work you get involved in you will be much needed and appreciated.
Please note that convoy weekends are quite physical and the environment is a working warehouse so you do need to be in general good health. There are many tasks so jobs can be found to suit your physical ability but it is not a suitable environment for those who find movement difficult.
What’s it like?
Órla joined her first CamCRAG convoy in October 2022:
“From the moment of signing up everything was super easy! You hardly have to organise anything yourself and everything is amazingly run. As for the actual trip, everyone was super helpful and the atmosphere was great! It’s so amazing to see so many willing volunteers really get stuck in and contribute to the community spirit that was so evident throughout the weekend!”
Here’s what some other volunteers from previous convoys have said:
“Be open minded, willing to help with whatever needs doing, take plenty of layers, be prepared that your experiences will change your perspectives on returning home!”
“Working alongside amazing people, who were giving up their time to help, was quite emotional and very very humbling. I don’t think ‘rollercoaster’ is a word that can be overused.”
“The moment you actually act, you are there to help, you give some tiny hope to the refugees and it is something that penetrates deep inside. It is like planting a seed for the future. So just do it.”
Below are links to the full convoy reports from some of our recent convoys:
- Volunteering in Chios, Greece 31 January 2024
- Matters of the Heart 20 January 2024
- Cleaning, sorting and chips 23 December 2023
- Chilli oil, toothpaste and trousers 26 November 2023
- Tents, toothbrushes and karaoke 23 October 2023
- More than the bare minimum 30 September 2023
- Solidarity not Charity 1 June 2023
- Beyond the News Headlines 16 May 2023
- “It’s not about the glamour” 11 April 2023
- Blankets and dates, ginger and tents 13 March 2023
Finally, here is a short film made by Sol Escobar on our January 2019 convoy: