Refugee support group needs new location for donations

Pictures of the Jungle - the refugee camp at Calais. ''Taken after a shipment of aid from Portsmouth was delivered on September 5, 2015''News reporter Sam Poole accompanied the convoy PPP-150609-220805001
Pictures of the Jungle - the refugee camp at Calais. ''Taken after a shipment of aid from Portsmouth was delivered on September 5, 2015''News reporter Sam Poole accompanied the convoy PPP-150609-220805001

Eastbourne Refugee Support is appealing for a premises to store and sort its donations for the people living in Calais.

The group is made up of volunteers and is a grass-roots group of local people, collecting donations for refugees arriving in Europe.

Members say Eastbourne is so close to Calais, so its volunteers are able to regularly make trips to “The Jungle” refugee camp to deliver donations and provide support.

However, until recently the group had a venue to store and sort our donations, but found itself homeless just before Christmas.

Sienna Davids, one of the founders of the Eastbourne Refugee Support group, who has been to the camp at Calais several times, said, “Conditions at Calais are desperate and with none of the regular charities there, it’s everyday people like us who are making the difference between life and death for thousands of people. If not us then who?

“Many times I’ve seen people arrive with nothing but the clothes they stood up in, including families with babies, unaccompanied children and pregnant women.

“Being able to give them a tent and bedding, a stove and food to cook, clothes, nappies and medical equipment was a privilege and the resultant smiles were priceless.

“I can’t imagine what I would’ve done if such supplies weren’t readily to hand.

“Donations have kept the people warm and dry, housed and fed and literally saved lives. The Jungle is growing daily as more people arrive and with the cold winter ahead, donations are needed more than ever.”

Rebecca Brueton is another volunteer for the group and part of the distribution team.

She says while warm clothing toiletries are needed, the group can’t take in anymore donations until it finds a new premises to store the items.

Rebecca told the Gazette, “The generosity of Eastbourne people has been amazing, but we need a new space to store donations, and until we find somewhere new we can’t accept any more.”

The kind-hearted volunteers at the Eastbourne group have spent some of the festive period trying to find a new premises and are calling on the town’s people to help with their quest.

Rebecca added, “So in between celebrating Christmas with our friends and families, Eastbourne Refugee Support volunteers are spending the festive season searching for a new home for the campaign.

“We’re hoping that in this season of goodwill, we’ll find someone who can lend us a space, which will help the people of Eastbourne send support and also friendship to refugees just across the water in Calais, as well as in Lesvos and beyond.”

If anyone has a space to offer please contact Eastbourne Refugee Support at EbrneRefSupp@gmail.com or Rebecca Brueton on 07930355985

Eastbourne Refugee Support is a group of local people, volunteering together to provide support to refugees across Europe via donations, funds and facilitating volunteers to assist abroad.

There are a number of ways people can help the cause.

Members are calling on people who are interested to volunteer their time and join the group.

The support group is also always collecting donations and is appealing for items desperately needed at the camps in Calais.

Rebecca said, “We especially need winter clothes (men’s women’s and children’s), boots, trainers, baby carriers, toys, tents, sleeping mats, backpacks, blankets, socks, toiletries.

“If people keep hold of their donations for now, as soon as we find a new space we can receive them.”

Funds are also needed and can be donated via the gofundme page at www.gofundme.com/RefugeeSupportGrp.

All of the money donated on the website will directly benefit the refugees. The group has no admin or other overheads.

Eastbourne Refugees Support is currently fundraising to create access to hot water.

Donated money is also spent on essentials such as food for refugees, tools and winter weather shelters.

Conditions at camps in Calais are poor, typically without proper sanitary or washing facilities and accommodation consisting of tents and improvised shelters.

Food is mostly supplied by charity soup kitchens.

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