Refugee Week was in June, and we held our Big Share again at the Avenues Centre. 100 or so people came to eat and talk and learn about what we do. We also raised £350 at a wonderfully sunny day at Engage for Change, which was donated to Care4Calais. There are around 3000 refugees living there in destitution, mostly because of delays and problems with the asylum process. Many are sleeping rough - finding space wherever they can under bridges and on the streets.
A group of volunteers went to Download Festival in June to collect discarded sleeping bags and mats. Thereafter many more volunteers each took a sleeping bag or two - or seventy! - to wash and dry before bringing them back to us to be distributed where needed. Most will be going to Calais but some will be kept for local homeless people. Volunteers will likely be going to another festival in August, please contact us if you would like to join them.
£190 was raised in sponsorship for Leonne to wear a dress to Sangyal's black tie event in July. Sangyal was boxing at a charity event to raise money for cancer research. The sponsorship money plus £150 raised at Cottingham Day will be donated to Care4Calais or used for expenses to take the collected sleeping bags to Calais in July and August. If you are interested in going to Calais, please contact us via the facebook page. We also welcome donations of food!
We also donated £500 to Anne Bates in Greece. Anne says of her work there, “The need is great here. The UNCHR are evicting families from apartments in Athens. They say that if they have been in here 2 years they should be able to maintain themselves! How can they? There is no work here for the Greeks! They have no papers! Small groups of us are 'begging' all over the world for bits of money to pay for roofs over their heads, nappies for families on streets, food and baby milk.
One of the mums at the Women's only space where I volunteer 3x a week has just come out of prison, something to do with papers, they have taken her cash card for 3months as part of punishment....she has children to feed.. wicked world we live in...”
Stalls at Cottingham Market and Walton Street Carboot continued to raise funds throughout June and July, and donations of clothes and household items were also taken to Open Doors for refugees and asylum seekers living in Hull. We also had a stall at Pride this year, selling more Paddington t-shirts - now available in different colours and more sizes, for £10 each.
Though it is rarely reported, there were more evictions in Calais in July, with refugees having their possessions confiscated and destroyed. Arafa, Cath and Jay went there on the 17th, with a car full of sleeping bags and some food. They report: "Around half of the sleeping bags collected at Download and washed by #teamhull were taken to Calais this weekend and were gratefully received. The warm, fairly dry weather is allowing a stockpile to be built in the hope that there will be enough to last through the winter.
We were lucky enough to be able to volunteer for a day with Care4Calais while we were there. After sorting the sleeping bags that we'd delivered, we all set off on a two hour drive to a park in Brussels, inhabited by around two hundred displaced people living in tents, in and around the park. As well as food, a generator was taken for charging phones, also powering the hair clippers provided for the afternoon. The phones, so vital for people, miles away from their families, often all displaced but not always together. The hair clippers and scissors were well used the whole time, so important in maintaining a sense of self and personal dignity. Manning the hair and phone charging section, we had the opportunity to chat to a few people as they waited in turn. The atmosphere was calm, a real mix of people from different countries and cultures, all with different stories to tell.
Despite their situations, what they'd been through, their living conditions, the people I spoke to had retained a certain tenacity. As one Eritrean man said, "there are a lot of strong people here, you have to be to get this far".
Early in April Cath took some more donations to Abid in Huddersfield, for distribution to those in need.
Also in April we had stalls at Cottingham Market, Walton Street and the Social Enterprise Fair held at Hull Minster, raising funds for supplies to Calais.
On the 12th it was time for our Annual General Meeting, Anne Bates gave talk about her work with refugees in Greece.
In May we had a stall at a May Day celebration at Pickering Road Community Orchard, followed by our Spring Fair, this year held at Church on the Way.
Later That Same Week - time for another musical extravaganza at Kardomah97.
Upcoming in June, please have a look at the events on for Refugee Week, 17-23 June. HHfR will be hosting The Big Share at the Avenues on the 19th. Lots of food!
And we will be having a stall again at Engage For Change, a free music festival in Queens Gardens. June 22nd, from 12-6 pm.
We will also be going to festivals over the summer to collect tents and sleeping bags - please watch our facebook if you're interested in coming along, or able to help wash the sleeping bags!
At the beginning of December we held out annual Christmas fair, this time in the centre of town at the Jubilee church. We were kept busy and entertained all day, with a Santa's Grotto, lots of stalls, and an arts table for kids, and made nearly £700 despite the constant drizzle making punters a bit thin on the ground.
Other fundraising efforts in December included a stall at Cottingham Xmas Market, which raised £120, and a carol singing event in the town centre which raised an absolutely amazing £400. This has gone to Calais Refugee Aid to help refugee familes with young children in Calais and Dunkirk.
In January we were working again with the marvellous Abid Pervez from Calais Refugee Aid who regularly transports aid over to Calais and Dunkirk, filling a van with donations.
In February more donations taken to a collection organised by Compassionate Lincoln to go from there to Calais, and also to Lesvos in March. This large car load of donations included bags and bags full of 'seconds' donated by Mountain Warehouse. Beautiful warm coats, thermals and shoes. And a fundraising birthday party for Gill raised more than enough to be worth the hangovers. We also restarted our regular car boots at Waltons Street, now the weather is a bit less awful.
Another 50 banana boxes were filled with donations for another convoy to Greece organised by Hope and Aid Direct at the start of March. Also in March two of our volunteers, John and Juliet, have made another trip across the channel taking donations of blankets, sleeping bags, food, scarves, gloves, and clean socks and 335€ to Care4Calais. We are also raising money for Care4Calais by selling adorable t-shirts featuring Paddington Bear. They are £12 each and we are taking orders on facebook.
Some of our volunteers were in London with Hull and East Yorkshire and Doncaster Stand Up To Racism for the international day of protests against racism, antisemitism and Islamophobia on Saturday 16th March.
Looking forward, our 6th musical fundraiser is being held at Kardomah94 on May 15th, featuring: the wonderful drum beats of Hull Samba, the best uke band in the East Riding The Assembly Line and the fantastic bluesy sounds of Chequered Past. Tickets are £7.50, it's always a very popular evening so get your tickets soon.
And our spring fair will be held at Church on the Way on Prince Avenue this year. It's a wonderful big hall, so room for lots of stalls and lots and lots of CAKE! Saturday 11th May.
* 5 October: an evening hosted by HHfR at the Avenues Centre raised £372 in donations. We were delighted to have so many people attend to see our four speakers, Anne Bates, who works as a volunteer in Greece, Abid Pervez of Calais Refugee Aid, Bashir Siraj of Open Doors in Hull, and Gaida Dirar a former refugee now living in Hull. Their presentations were followed by amazing food made by two of our volunteers, Zaidee and Syeda.
* 18 October HHfR hosted another production of The Castaways by White Tree Theatre, at the Guildhall. Thank you so much to Charlotte Wood and Becky Thompson from the White Tree Theatre Company, and also to Councillor Pantilakis for working so hard to ensure that it happened, councillors Daren Hale, Nadine Fudge and Haraldo Herrera-Richmond for funding it for us, for the very helpful staff who opened the doors and looked after everyone, and Sarah and Jamie Akrill for filming. It was very well received by a good sized audience and raised £345 in donations.
* 10 November, we had a stall at the Vintage Fair organised by Dove House at the Church on the Way on Princes Avenue. Lots of fantastic stalls, music and cake.
* Most of October and November has been taken up with our winter appeal for donations for a convoy to Greece organised by Hope and Aid Direct. We have received huge amounts of clothes, toiletries and banana boxes to pack them in. The Church of Latter-Day Saints and students from St Mary's joined our regular volunteers in several packing sessions to get everything ready. Many of the sleeping bags collected from Leeds Music Festival went too. The truck is now on its way to Lesbos. A couple of our volunteers are also going to Calais later in the month, and will be taking as many donations as they can fit in their car.
* 1 December. Our next event is our Christmas fete, which this year is held in town, at Jubilee Church on King Edward Street. We would be very glad of any tombola prizes, our tombola stall is always very popular!
Our current drop off points are as follows:
Avenues Centre, HU5 4DA, Mon & Sat 10-12.
The Warren, HU1 3DR, Tues & Thurs 10-5, Wed 10-1, Fri 10-4.
Unison, HU1 2AG, Mon-Friday 9-4.
Ground, HU3 1YE, Tues 1-4 & 5-7, Thurs 2-7, Sat 12-5.
We are running an appeal for warm winter clothes at the moment, collecting for a convoy to Greece. All warm winter clothes in good condition, for men, women and children, are wanted, but we also are collecting food, blankets, sleeping bags, cooking pots and the like. See a more detailed list here. Drop off times are at the Avenues Centre Mon & Sat 10-12, and The Warren, HU1 3DR, Tues & Thurs 10-5, Weds 10-1, Fri 10-4.
In August we had another big 2nd hand and vintage sale at The Avenues Centre, raising ~£500, and also had a stall at the brilliant Ella Street Festival – almost totally selling out of cakes! It was a hot day, but a huge amount of fun. £300 of our profits were donated to Care4Calais for small men’s or boy’s jeans or joggers, which they are able to buy cheaply in bulk. Go to their website to donate directly.
Later in the month a large group of volunteers went to Leeds Music Festival - or rather, the aftermath of Leeds Festival - to rescue abandoned sleeping bags, tents, mats and wellies that would otherwise be bulldozed and sent to landfill. Team Hull had several hundred sleeping bags washed, returned and ready to go in no time, and many have already gone to Calais Refugee Aid and Raise the Roof Hull Homeless Project.
On the 20th September another fundraiser was held at Kardomah94, a fantastic restaurant and event venue that has been very supportive of HHfR the last few years. A night of music, comedy and spoken word hosted by Ian Winter and featuring Graham Graham Beck, Sun Kings, Carrie Martin, Casey Adams, Dez Allenby, Mike Watts.
Want to know what it’s like volunteering for refugees in Greece and Calais and what support there is in Hull for families who have settled in the city? Come to the Avenues Centre this Friday 5th October 7.00 pm. Following short presentations, there will be food provided, which has been cooked by some of our volunteers from Pakistan and the opportunity to have an informal discussion with Ann, who lives in Greece; Abid, who makes regular trips to Calais; and Bashir from Open Doors in Hull.The event is free, although donations are of course very welcome.
Lastly, our annual Christmas Fete will be held at The Jubilee Church in the City Centre this year, on 1st December. As usual we will have a Santa's Grotto, lots of stalls, and a tombola (donations of prizes needed!).
The Warren offers free support, guidance, training, music, education and counselling services to young people aged 14-25 who are experiencing unemployment, homelessness, isolation, sexual abuse, physical abuse, drug-abuse, bullying, neglect, domestic violence, family-relationship breakdown, learning difficulties, racism and homophobia.
They are now operating as a drop-off point for HHfR, Tues & Thurs 10-5, Weds 10-1, Fri 10-4.