REGISTRATION FOR OUR CONVOY OF 22 TO 24 OCTOBER IS NOW CLOSED.
REGISTRATION FOR OUR CONVOY OF 12-14 NOVEMBER IS NOW OPEN.
Register for the November 12-14 convoy here.
NOTE: We have brought forward the dates for our November convoy, as Collective Aid have specifically asked us if we can come early and help them move into a new warehouse.
ABOUT OUR CONVOYS
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.
Applications for convoys usually open after the previous convoy, and close two or three weeks before the convoy weekend.
Thank you to everyone who came on our convoy in early September, our first in 18 months. Following its success, we are hoping to return to our former routine of running weekend volunteer convoys to Calais every 4 to 6 weeks.
Provisional future convoy dates: 12-14 November, 17-19 December, 21-23 January, 25-27 February, 25-27 March
If you are joining a convoy, please make sure your passport is up to date with a minimum of 6 months to run and, if you are a driver, please note the vehicle and driving requirements below.
We very much want to support our convoy volunteers in managing Covid requirements and precautions to enable a safe trip to Calais and back. We cannot of course mitigate against all Covid risk but will operate within relevant legal frameworks and local organisational policy.
POST-BREXIT CONVOY REQUIREMENTS
Following Brexit you must now have at least six months left on an adult or child passport to travel to France.
The Brexit deal includes a reciprocal healthcare scheme to enable British travellers visiting the EU to get medically necessary healthcare for a reduced cost or for free. If you have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), it will still be valid, and when it runs out you will be able to apply for its new equivalent: the Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC). The card is free and available from the NHS.
- Full and valid driver’s licence. If you do not have a photo card driving licence you will likely need an International Driving Permit (IDP), available from the post office .
- V5C vehicle registration document .
- Passport with at least 6 months until expiry .
- Reflective (‘hi-vis’) jackets for all passengers.
- Warning triangle.
- Two NF-approved breathalysers.
- Headlamp beam deflectors.
- GB sticker (if you have non GB-symbol or GB Union Jack symbol plates only).
- Please note that speed camera detectors and sat-navs with camera locations are not permitted .
MORE ABOUT OUR CONVOYS
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, many of them children, 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, The Calais Woodyard and Utopia56, 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, and a second one run by Collective Aid, 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.
What’s it like?
To get an idea of what it’s like to join a CamCRAG convoy for the first time, read these reports from some of our volunteers:
- Ollie joined his first convoy in September 2021. Read his account of his experience here.
- You can also read Freya’s first time convoy experience from September 2019.
- Estere went on her first convoy in June 2018 – follow this link to read her report.
Here’s what some 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.”
Sol Escobar made this short film of our January 2019 convoy:
When do you go?
Convoys leave Cambridge on Friday evenings and return on Sunday evenings. We stay in the youth hostel in Calais and work two full days in the warehouse. See the top of this page for the dates of upcoming convoys and a link to apply the next one.
I’d love to but I’m not free at weekends!
We are considering running midweek convoys, possibly Tuesday to Thursday. If you would be interested in this please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’d love to go but I can’t afford it!
We recognise that not everyone who would like to volunteer can afford to go to Calais. We therefore have a limited number of subsidised places, for which CamCRAG will pay accommodation, leaving just personal food to be paid by the volunteer. Applicants will need to demonstrate evidence of financial need (e.g. housing benefit or JSA). In the first instance please email email@example.com.
What about Covid?
We are committed to restarting our convoys but also need to respond to changing conditions due to the Covid pandemic. Ahead of the convoy the coordinators will arrange a video call to explain and discuss any queries regarding current Covid guidance.
OK sign me up!
Great! Dates of future convoys are at the top of this page, along with info on how to sign up. If you have any questions please email firstname.lastname@example.org