Volunteers from Ely and the villages are making a difference to the refugees forced to live in make shift settlements in Calais
PUBLISHED: 10:09 09 October 2015 | UPDATED: 10:09 09 October 2015
It has around 700 members on Facebook but the Ely Calais Refugee Action group is capturing the hearts and minds - and pockets- of many more.
Such has been the success of the appeal that volunteers took another trip to Calais to deliver aid to refugees forced to live in make shift settlements at the French port.
One of those behind the Ely effort is Juliet Browse of Haddenham.
Here’s her update on the effort.
Our trip to ‘the jungle in Calais’ last weekend was really successful as we delivered around three tons of aid. And made lots of people smile!
The refugees were really grateful and so happy to receive the food packs that were donated by the lovely people of Ely.
The bikes and footballs also went down particularly well - especially with some of the older children who get very bored in the camp and the bikes will give them some fun and a little bit of normality.
The picture of the boy with the bike is particularly lovely - this little boy is called Hamid and comes from Iraq.
In addition to distributing the aid we also built a shelter to house seven women from Eritrea who were totally traumatized after their tent was slashed with knives whilst the slept in it. The shelter was finished in just one day and was waterproof and insulated and contained a rocket stove to help them cook and keep warm.
We are planning another trip in the second weekend of November so would really appreciate your help letting people know that we are still collecting the following items:
Food packs containing tea, coffee, rice, plain flour, salt and spices (e.g. harissa), tinned fish, tinned fruit, tinned chick peas and kidney beans, onion, garlic, UHT milk, muesli bars and a handwritten note!
We would also like bikes - adults and teenagers bikes please - any condition as long as they go!
Cutlery, wooden spoons and tin openers are also welcome.
The drop off point is: Spoilt Rotten Beads, 7 The Green, Haddenham, Ely, CB6 3TA
We would also really appreciate it if you could let people know that we are looking for donations of money to fund the next trip on our Go Fund Me page which is www.gofundme.com/ElyRefugeeAction
Stuart Browse was with the Ely team of Sean Dennis, Louise Womersley and Kul Mahay on the weekend trip to Calais.
“What an amazing weekend with such dedicated and inspirational team members,” he wrote.
“I don’t think but I KNOW we touched the lives of so many suffering fellow human beings making their lives more bearable in the jungle.
“The generosity of the Ely, Derby, Cambridge and Warboys inhabitants was truly felt by the inhabitants of the Jungle, we did massive distributions of food clothes shoes and toiletries met always by smiles, sincere gratitude and a chat.
“We managed to build an altar for the Church, shelving for the church distribution centre, took part in this mornings service and built a house of pallets for 7 Eritrean girls who were not only persecuted at home but also in the camp.
“Their gratitude was truly humbling. I heard so many stories that will stay with me forever. Thank you
“You have all made a difference with your generosity this weekend.”