We’ve organised a ‘caravan of love’ to aid Calais refugees

Helen Burton SUS-150709-171138001

Helen Burton SUS-150709-171138001

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Now that the national press and TV are reporting widely on the refugee crisis attitudes seem to have shifted too. The majority of people want to help when they see others suffering, and the groundswell of support for refugees along with British communities rallying to offer practical help has been a wonderful thing to see. People in the UK frustrated with the government’s lack of response have been just getting on and organising projects themselves. Financial collections, collections of clothes and supplies and trips to help in Calais have all been organised by people who just want to ease suffering. This ‘can do’ attitude has also prompted the government to take in more refugees from Syria, and I’m sure (I hope) we will see other developments from the government to co-ordinate efforts of assistance. On Friday I was watching the reports on TV with a growing sense of horror and wanted to do something to help. I haven’t got much money to give but I logged onto Facebook to see what was needed and saw that one of the things being requested was caravans. I was in the process of selling mine, and whilst I could have done with the money I thought about the conditions of the refugee camps, compared it to my lifestyle and pretty quickly decided that if I didn’t donate it I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night. There are refugees around the world that need our help, but on our doorstep is the Calais refugee camp and conditions there are worsening by the day. It will soon be winter and some of the areas in the camp are flooding already making living there a nightmare. Caravans are an ideal solution as they are portable, dry and some like mine even have kitchen facilities and toilet/shower cubicles.

I found a local group that have already made trips to Calais and it was decided that my caravan would make an ideal distribution centre/volunteer base/secure tool storage/female loo. It will be well used! I put a request out on Facebook for help to get the caravan ready and got a great response. We are going to decorate the outside of the van with a mural to cheer it up and a Jordanian friend translated ‘caravan of love’ into Arabic. We are going to cover the van with hearts, flowers and messages of support in different languages to well and truly send a caravan of love from Eastbourne. Do you have a caravan you could donate to the calais refugee camp? Please email me and we can arrange collection at ethicallifestyle@btinter
net.com . If you would like to support the caravan of love project please donate to this local group who are working hard to make conditions in Calais better. http://www.gofundme.com/ze3gsfs4 You can follow the Eastbourne campaign’s progress at https://www.facebook.com/groups/calaisrefugeesupporteastbourne I’m hoping to accompany the caravan to Calais to report on conditions so will keep you posted!