Unfortunately I couldn’t join them due to illness but they have gone with many other volunteers from Eastbourne who are also taking their children with them to help out. I’m sure it will be an experience of a lifetime and, traumatic though it may be for the volunteers, from the photos Marcie has already posted on Facebook you can see that there is also fun, friendship and some touching moments too. It is great to know that so many people from Eastbourne have joined together to make the Calais ‘jungle’ a better place to live but there continues to be work to do. With winter approaching conditions are only going to get worse so if you know of any caravans that could be donated please do get in touch. Collections of clothes, blankets etc have stopped for the moment as what is needed most is volunteers in Calais to sort out and distribute the donations that have already been collected. Volunteers are also need to help tidy up out there and build shelters, there is plenty of work to do. The ‘big clean up’ is happening until the end of October and volunteers from Eastbourne will be going frequently. If you can volunteer you will need to pay for your own transport and accommodation as every penny raised locally is going direct to the refugees. You don’t have to go by yourself, liaise with others through the Facebook page as many people are car sharing to save money (and make it more fun)! I’ve already made several new friends by getting involved with this project and it really is heart-warming to see so many people pulling together improve the lives of those living in the Calais camp. For those people who don’t approve of helping please think about this. No matter what your opinion about the politics of the situation or why the refugees are there, the bottom line is that people are suffering. The 4,000 or so residents of the Calais jungle are living in appalling conditions without much hope and the situation is getting worse. They are increasingly desperate. All of this is happening right next to our border a couple of hours from Eastbourne. Can you really turn your back? I hope not. If you want to get involved in any way or follow the progress of the Eastbourne volunteers more closely then ‘like’ their Facebook page www.facebook.com/groups/CalaisRefugeeSupportEastbourne/ The situation in Calais is not likely to get better any time soon so collections, donations and volunteer trips will continue after October too.
Please do follow the page for information. If you can’t help out practically then donations can be made on www.gofundme.com/refugeesupportgrp Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org