Juliet's flipflops

Just returned from Calais. Lots and lots of people with no shoes. In the pissing rain. Only flip flops. No tents. No coats. There is no "camp". No "Jungle". It was burned down in 2016 by the authorities. I got home and saw my flip flops and so many images came up. A teenager with a head injury. He had fallen off a lorry and lost consciousness briefly earlier, forced to risk his life to try to reunite with his family in the UK. There is no safe, legal route to get here. No. Safe. Legal. Route.... His friends were asking me how to get medical help, and shepherded him off to A and E, steering him protectively. A thin, thin, older man in light clothes and a sodden caghoul, shivering in line, waiting for boots. A middle aged guy rolling up his trousers to show one leg bigger than the other and scarred from beatings. A little girl chatting and giggling with volunteers. And again that bottomless sinking feeling of locking eyes with someone as they tell you their story, and really getting it. Fully actually realising. Oh my God I can't change this for you. You. Are. Stuck. Here. And you can't go back. For a fixer and a problem-solver and a control-freak like me that's absolutely fucking heart-breaking. Veuillez m'excuser ma français.

In the comments below are some links.

1. If you think this shouldn't be happening, apparrently one of the most effective things you can do is write to your MP. Even better is to offer to meet them. I have just done this. If you live in the East Riding and want to join me then please get in touch. The government has an obligation legally to bring child refugees here. Please ask them to fulfill that obligation. Safe Passage easy peasy email template attached in comment.

2. If you want to do something locally then I'm proud to say I'm part of an absolutely brilliant little charity (Hull Help for Refugees) who are always happy to welcome new volunteers so I will attach their link

3. Also we gave out over 200 pairs of boots. Good quality, new, waterproof boots. But the line of people waiting seemed to stretch just as far into the distance as when we started. When we had to shut the van doors there were a lot of disappointed and very wet people still left in their sodden trainers and flip flops. Care4Calais go on distribution every day. They are shit-hot at everything they do. The efficiency, organisation, planning, compassion, dedication, everything. They are highly respected and trusted amongst the people they serve. And their underlying philosophy is not just to give out aid but to campaign to get the situation changed. Their link is below too so please have a read of their wonderful myth-busting info about refugees, and don't be afraid to talk to people about this. We are in a toxic culture that blames the victims and ignores them. Let's not be silent about this... and consider donating or coming down to Calais to help out. It's easier than you think.
And it's always a mix of heart-break and real connection with the refugees. There is a LOT of laughter! People are so incredibly resilient in such absolutely appalling circumstances.

Those are my flip flops by the way.

Published in News & Our Stories
Wednesday, 30 October 2019 10:39

Update for August, September & October 2019

Rather belated update for a very busy summer. Aug 2019 Mike Niklas & Friends

In August Mike Niklas & friends did a sponsored cycle to Paris, raising £700 for us for refugees in France and Greece. More money was raised by our volunteers throughout the summer at assorted

Sep 2019 Jayne Mercer slide from talk

carboots and markets.

 On 27th September we held a talk at the Avenues Centre by immigration advisor Jayne Mercer, on the process of seeking asylum, and volunteer Anne Bates on her work with refugees in Greece. The slides from Jayne's talk are available if you missed it.

The situation is only getting worse as winter comes on; the camps are fatally overcrowded, fires are becoming

common and the police in Calais are relentlessly brutal about moving people on, destroying destroying tents, sleeping bags, shoes, and personal possessions. We have sent funds to Samos and our friend Anne in Athens to buy medical supplies.

 Oct 2019 Pharmacist Nikko with Medical Supplies for SamosOver 1000 sleeping bags were salvaged at two festivals in August, and all washed by September thanks to help from many people of Hull. Sleeping bags and tents have been donated in several trips made in September and October to Care4Calais for distribution. The October mini-convoy to Calais took several volunteers to help out for a few days, as well as sleeping bags and clothes, plus food ingredients for Refugee Community Kitchen, and medical supplies for MARDI (Medical Aid for Refugees and Displaced People) in Paris. If you are interested in going on a future trip with us and volunteering for a few days (or more) with Care4Calais, please get in touch! They are always in need of volunteers.

Roddy from Hope and Aid Direct picked up two more vanloads of donated goods from us, to another Convoy to Greece. They are seeking donations to help pay the transportation costs - you can sponsor a

pallet for £100 but all donations are welcome.

Our stalls at Cottingham Green Fair in October raised over £150, plus additional monies from sales of Care4Calais's Paddington t-shirts - these are still for sale for £10, in various colours and sizes. Please get in touch if you want one.

Lithium Joe (+ The Hurriers & Chris Von Trapp) is holding a fundraiser concert at the new Adelphi on 1st December with proceeds to us - tickets £5.

 Our Appeal page has been updated to reflect current needs in Calais. Particularly in need are WATERPROOF BOOTS - many refugees are in flip flops and sandals. Other ways to help: Friends for English need volunteers to help refugees and asylum seekers in Hull improve their English. We are also seeking donations for our Xmas stall - tombola prizes and unused make up and toiletries for gift packs.

 Oct 19 Jay Cath at C4C delivering sleeping bags


Published in News & Our Stories