Eastbourne campaigners delivering aid to ‘The Jungle’

The Calais refugee camp known as 'The Jungle'
The Calais refugee camp known as 'The Jungle'

The Eastbourne People’s Assembly (EPA) is joining the Convoy to Calais later this month.

The groups says just across the Channel, 4,500 people are living in squalid conditions in the Calais refugee camp known as ‘The Jungle’. The vast majority are refugees, fleeing war and persecution.

The Convoy to Calais is a national grassroots initiative, in collaboration with several charities, to deliver practical help and aid to the refugees stranded there, and to demonstrate the depth of support in UK society for those refugees.

The Eastbourne People’s Assembly Against Austerity says it fully supports the convoy, and will provide resources of various kinds. Several EPA members, some of whom have already visited the Calais camp several times, will be on the convoy itself and will be helping to distribute the aid to the camp residents.

The Convoy to Calais will leave Whitehall in London at 10am on Saturday, June 18, in a moving protest. The convoy has been organised by the People’s Assembly, Stop the War and Stand Up to Racism and is supported by trade unions including Unite, Unison, Aslef, CWU, PCS, TSSA and organisations including the Muslim Association of Britain and the Woodcraft Folk. Further information, including how to book your space, the approved list of donations, and the nearest drop-off point for making those donations, can be found at www.thepeoplesassembly.org.uk/convoy_to_calais

One of the national organisers of the Convoy to Calais said, “The date chosen is not accidental. The unfortunate reality is that both of the mainstream ‘Leave’ and ‘Remain’ campaigns have sought to make immigration and still tougher border controls central to the referendum debate. Ahead of the EU referendum we want to be part of sending a clear message that whichever way we intend to vote we will not stand by and allow the referendum to be used as cover for those who seek to use racism to divide us and to demonise the victims of war, oppression and poverty.”

Brian Wilkes, an EPA member who will be on the convoy, is willing to take donations from local people with him - especially food donations which, he reports, are sorely needed right now. He said, “I am joining the Convoy to Calais on June 18 as I believe it is vital that we do all we can to alleviate the suffering of the refugees stranded in the camps in France. Many of these people have endured unimaginable hardship and distress. I know that any aid and solidarity will be gratefully received. I also wish to show solidarity with the volunteers working tirelessly in the camps and warehouses across the Channel and here at home.”

For more information about the Eastbourne People’s Assembly and its role in the Convoy to Calais, please contact eastbourne.peoplesassembly@yahoo.co.uk

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