Back in August 2015, moved by the countless images published in the media of the plight of refugees but inspired by the story of a woman taking sleeping bags to the growing camp in Calais herself, a similar trip was suggested by a Hull resident on social media.
In order to organise a more official effort and obtain a driver as well as donations, a Facebook page was set up. In a matter of days, an assortment of like-minded strangers who were united by their common desire to take action was gathered in a living room in Cottingham and Hull Help for Refugees was born!
At HHfR, we have witnessed the power of the collective and we are able to help purely down to the goodwill and generosity of the people of Hull and the surrounding areas.
Although the scale and sheer enormity of the crisis can often be overwhelming, we firmly believe that every human being deserves dignity, empathy, compassion and respect.
We also believe that when individuals work together, no matter how small the gesture, we can make a difference.
Author Steve Maraboli's quote sums this up perfectly: "with one kind gesture you can change a life. One person at a time can change the world. One day at a time can change everything."
We also pride ourselves in working with the local community and in the past year we have supported local homeless groups, domestic abuse shelters and many other deserving causes.
We keep our Facebook page up-to-date with every achievement and all the support we receive, however, here is a list of some of our proudest achievements, one year on:
- Going on trips to camps in Calais and Dunkirk in order to deliver aid and learn more about what is most needed from us as well as building several shelters
- Filling two 40ft containers full of donations shipped to Athens, Greece
- A Ukulele fundraiser held at Kardomah94 which raised £690
- Several trips to Greece - as with Calais - to deliver aid, volunteer and to learn about how best we can help
- Having several articles published in the Hull Daily Mail (links to these) as well as interviews on local radio which have helped raise the profile of HHfR and the work we do
- Organising two Christmas Fairs and Santa's Grotto events at the Unison Building in the city centre
- Getting young people from local primary and secondary schools as well as Sixth Forms involved with our efforts
- Hosting a spring fete alongside OpenDoors in Princes Ave Methodist Church involving food, dance, entertainment, crafts and other stalls which raised £1000
- Arranging 4 trips to festivals to salvage abandoned items totalling more than 200 sleeping bags, over 50 tents, 100+ roll mats, 50+ chairs and much, much more
- Bringing members of the community together to help raise awareness of the current humanitarian crisis through organising and delivering fundraising events.
- To raise awareness for the need of donations of clothes and equipment
- Collecting donations and sorting them to be sent to the camps and to other people in need
- Develop, organise, manage and participate in providing practical help to the Refugees in camps by organising liaising with camps and other organisations to provide the best service
- To provide support for other destitute people anywhere.
- Ensure the coordination of transports to the Camps and people in need.
In order to achieve its aims, ‘Hull help for refugees’ may:
- Raise money
- Open bank accounts
- Take out insurance
- Obtain and pay for goods and services necessary to run the group
- Hire, rent or lease premises to run the group’s activities and manage its business
- Organise activities and events
- Work with similar groups and exchange information and advice with them
- Do anything that is lawful which will help it to fulfil its aims
Open to anybody who shares in the Aims and Objectives of the Group.
a. A Management Committee elected annually at the Annual General Meeting shall manage the group.
b. The committee shall consist of 5 Members each of whom have the same voting powers
c. The committee at their meetings shall elect one member as the Chair and Secretary for the day and for record purposes only.
d. The committee shall meet at least four times a year.
e. Decisions will be made by a majority of Committee Members present and voting.
f. No member of the management committee, or anyone connected to them, shall receive any payment (other than reimbursement of out of pocket expenses).
The funds of ‘Hull help for refugees’ will be paid into an account in the name of ‘Hull help for refugees’ operated by the Management Committee. All cheques and transactions must be signed by at least two members of the Management Committee and must be approved by the Management Committee.
Annual General Meeting (AGM)
a. An Annual General Meeting shall be help within fifteen months of the date of adoption of this constitution and each year thereafter.
b. Notices of the AGM shall be published three weeks beforehand and a report on the group’s financial position for the previous year will be made available at the same time.
c. A Special General Meeting may be called at any time at the request of the committee, or not less than one quarter of the membership. A notice explaining the place, date, time and reason shall be sent to all members three weeks beforehand.
d. One third of members being present shall enable a General Meeting to take place.
e. Proposals to change the constitution must be given in writing to the secretary at least 28 days before a general meeting ad approved by a two third majority of those present and voting
f. The funds of the group including all donations, contributions and requests, shall be paid into an account operated by the management committee in the name of ‘Hull help for refugees’. All cheques drawn on the account must be signed by at least three members of the management committee.
g. The funds belonging to the group shall be applied only to further the objectives of the group
h. A current record of all income, funding and expenditure will be kept.
a. ‘Hull help for refugees’ can be wound up at a Special General Meeting called for that purpose
b. The proposal to wind up ‘Hull help for refugees’ must be advertised 14 days before the meeting
c. The decision to wind up will require the approval of two thirds of member present and voting at the meeting
d. Surplus funds of ‘Hull help for refugees’ if it is dissolved, will be returned to the donor where possible. If this is not possible any funds left over will be donated to an organisation with similar aims following approval by two thirds of members present and voting at the meeting.
Hull Help for Refugees, or HHfR for short, is a grassroots collective of individuals who wish to aid refugees in the current humanitarian crisis; the biggest of its kind since the Second World War. We are a registered charity as of February 2018 (No. 1176555).
With millions of people fleeing war and human rights violations in countries such as Syria, the crisis should not, and can not be ignored. What's more, with borders being closed off and increasingly limited numbers being allowed to claim asylum, thousands of men, women and children find themselves stuck in camps with little more than the clothes on their back.
It is estimated that there are now around 60,000 people in such camps in Greece as well as around 7,000 people living less than 300 miles away from Hull in camps in Calais/Dunkirk.