What we do

Calais – Direct Aid

There are currently around 700 refugees living in and around Calais. They are sleeping rough in the worst conditions and are not allowed to even have tents for shelter from the elements.

Their sleeping bags and possessions are regularly confiscated by the police as, since the closure of the ‘Jungle’ camp in October 2016, the authorities are determined to prevent another permanent camp from reforming.

Calais – Social Interaction

We are delighted to support the day centre run by Secours Catholique in Calais.  Here, refugees can enjoy a safe and welcoming environment and interact with our volunteers through a range of activities.

If you have a particular skill or interest, such as teaching English or French, doing arts and crafts, playing games or music this is a great way to share these. You can bring your own resources, or we can provide these.

Dunkerque

Since April 2017, when the camp at Dunkerque burnt down, there have been refugees camping in the woods and fields in this area. They are mainly either Kurdish or Afghan and include many families with small children.

Care4Calais visits sites here twice a week to deliver direct aid, charge mobile phones, bring hot tea, food packs and firewood, and to engage in social activities with the refugees.

Caen

In recent months the number of refugees in both Caen and in the nearby port of Ouistreham has gradually risen.  Care4Calais estimate there are around 300 people living in the area, generally sleeping rough.

They are mostly Sudanese and, although local groups have formed to help with food, it is difficult for small local groups to raise funds for essentials like shoes or sleeping bags, particularly when they are already feeding people on a regular basis.

Ventimiglia and the Italian Alps

Since France tightened border controls with Italy in mid 2017 many refugees have become stranded in Ventimiglia on the French/Italian border. In the summer numbers swell, with hundreds of people sleeping under a big motorway bridge.

As greater risks are taken to cross the border refugees have begun to lose their lives either on the mountains, roads or railways tracks. This winter temperatures dropped to minus 20 over the alps, but still people tried to cross, ill-equipped and at risk of frostbite, loss of limbs and death.

Paris

There are over 1,500 refugees sleeping rough on the streets of Paris.  The reasons are different to Calais; whereas many people along the Northern coast of France are hoping to get to the UK in Paris there are many refugees who are hoping to claim asylum in France.

However, they may not have been able to enter the system because it is swamped, they may be in the process of claiming asylum but are destitute because they are not allowed to work, or they may have been rejected due to failures in the ‘Dublin’ system.

Calais – Children’s Centre

The minors Centre near Calais houses around 70 child refugees, some of whom are claiming asylum in France, some who are applying to come to the UK, and some who are simply having a few days respite from their lives on the street.

Although this place is run by the French state, resources are limited and they will ask us for certain things for the children that they are short of. Just as we do, they have plenty of things for young children and girls but really struggle with 13/15-year-old boys.

Brussels

In early 2017 there was an increase in the number of refugees arriving in Brussels trying to reach the UK. In March 2017 Care4Calais started making weekly trips to Brussels to take food, clothes and bedding as, at that time, there was very little support available to them.

By the summer of 2017 there were around 600 people sleeping rough in Gare Du Nord and Maximillian Park.  Local associations then began to react and Care4Calais started working with an excellent group – Plateforme Citoyenne de Soutien aux Refugies Bruxelle.

First Aid Support Team (FAST)

Care4Calais work closely with FAST, a volunteer group of healthcare professionals from the UK and the Netherlands who come to Calais and provide first aid support. They provide refugees with a crucial first point of call regarding health issues, identifying when people need emergency healthcare but also giving wound care advice and bandaging, over the counter medication and general first aid care.

The team will often accompany Care4Calais on distributions and are invaluable in helping with the many problems arising from the low living standards to which the refugees are exposed.

Syria

Seven years ago a peaceful uprising against the President Bashar al-Assad in Syria turned into a full-scale civil war that has so far left more than 350,000 people dead, devastated cities and displaced over six million people.

In 2015 Care4Calais worked with many Syrian refugees in the Calais camp. However, since Europe signed a widely criticised and inhumane deal with Turkey in 2016 that trapped millions of Syrian refugees in Turkey and Greece we have seen numbers of Syrian refugees in France drop drastically.

Small Camps

Partly due to the French authorities’ dispersal policy, small camps can spring up in various places around the northern coast of France.

There are a few such places where we visit small groups of refugees and take food, clothes and other supplies, and link with local people in the area who also help the refugees.

Belgian Kitchen

The Belgian kitchen is a fantastic organisation that we first began working with in the old Calais ‘Jungle’ where they provided over 1,000 hot cooked meals every day. They now operate out of a large disused building in Brussels where over 25 refugee families are hosted, and hot cooked meals continue to be provided for hundreds of refugees sleeping rough in the town centres.

The refugees themselves join in the preparation of the food and maintenance of the building, and Care4calais provides food supplies whenever we are able to.

Shelter

Care4Calais strive to make every donation count, so we have partnered with Shelter to donate items not suitable for distribution to refugees in northern France, such as extra large clothing, business or formal wear for example, to their shops, mostly in the South East of England.

We are committed to ensuring as little waste as possible and are very pleased to be working to support those suffering from homelessness in the UK.

Stand Up To Racism

We work closely with Stand Up To Racism on the campaign #RefugeesWelcome and regularly host groups of volunteers from their national network.

On each of the weekend trips Stand Up To Racism organised in winter 2017-18 over 100 people attended, with talks and a film screening finishing each day.

#FamiliesTogether

A bill is currently progressing through UK Parliament to broaden the scope of the family reunification provisions and bring them in line with many other countries in Europe; the UK rules are currently one of the two most restrictive in the EU.

Care4Calais have joined a coalition of organisations that are campaigning together for this bill including the Refugee Council, the British Red Cross, Amnesty International and Oxfam.

Calais – Direct Aid

There are currently around 700 refugees living in and around Calais. They are sleeping rough in the worst conditions and are not allowed to even have tents for shelter from the elements.

Their sleeping bags and possessions are regularly confiscated by the police as, since the closure of the ‘Jungle’ camp in October 2016, the authorities are determined to prevent another permanent camp from reforming.

Calais – Social Interaction

We are delighted to support the day centre run by Secours Catholique in Calais.  Here, refugees can enjoy a safe and welcoming environment and interact with our volunteers through a range of activities.

If you have a particular skill or interest, such as teaching English or French, doing arts and crafts, playing games or music this is a great way to share these. You can bring your own resources, or we can provide these.

Dunkerque

Since April 2017, when the camp at Dunkerque burnt down, there have been refugees camping in the woods and fields in this area. They are mainly either Kurdish or Afghan and include many families with small children.

Care4Calais visits sites here twice a week to deliver direct aid, charge mobile phones, bring hot tea, food packs and firewood, and to engage in social activities with the refugees.

Caen

In recent months the number of refugees in both Caen and in the nearby port of Ouistreham has gradually risen.  Care4Calais estimate there are around 300 people living in the area, generally sleeping rough.

They are mostly Sudanese and, although local groups have formed to help with food, it is difficult for small local groups to raise funds for essentials like shoes or sleeping bags, particularly when they are already feeding people on a regular basis.

Ventimiglia and the Italian Alps

Since France tightened border controls with Italy in mid 2017 many refugees have become stranded in Ventimiglia on the French/Italian border. In the summer numbers swell, with hundreds of people sleeping under a big motorway bridge.

As greater risks are taken to cross the border refugees have begun to lose their lives either on the mountains, roads or railways tracks. This winter temperatures dropped to minus 20 over the alps, but still people tried to cross, ill-equipped and at risk of frostbite, loss of limbs and death.

Paris

There are over 1,500 refugees sleeping rough on the streets of Paris.  The reasons are different to Calais; whereas many people along the Northern coast of France are hoping to get to the UK in Paris there are many refugees who are hoping to claim asylum in France.

However, they may not have been able to enter the system because it is swamped, they may be in the process of claiming asylum but are destitute because they are not allowed to work, or they may have been rejected due to failures in the ‘Dublin’ system.

Calais – Children’s Centre

The minors Centre near Calais houses around 70 child refugees, some of whom are claiming asylum in France, some who are applying to come to the UK, and some who are simply having a few days respite from their lives on the street.

Although this place is run by the French state, resources are limited and they will ask us for certain things for the children that they are short of. Just as we do, they have plenty of things for young children and girls but really struggle with 13/15-year-old boys.

Brussels

In early 2017 there was an increase in the number of refugees arriving in Brussels trying to reach the UK. In March 2017 Care4Calais started making weekly trips to Brussels to take food, clothes and bedding as, at that time, there was very little support available to them.

By the summer of 2017 there were around 600 people sleeping rough in Gare Du Nord and Maximillian Park.  Local associations then began to react and Care4Calais started working with an excellent group – Plateforme Citoyenne de Soutien aux Refugies Bruxelle.

First Aid Support Team (FAST)

Care4Calais work closely with FAST, a volunteer group of healthcare professionals from the UK and the Netherlands who come to Calais and provide first aid support. They provide refugees with a crucial first point of call regarding health issues, identifying when people need emergency healthcare but also giving wound care advice and bandaging, over the counter medication and general first aid care.

The team will often accompany Care4Calais on distributions and are invaluable in helping with the many problems arising from the low living standards to which the refugees are exposed.

Syria

Seven years ago a peaceful uprising against the President Bashar al-Assad in Syria turned into a full-scale civil war that has so far left more than 350,000 people dead, devastated cities and displaced over six million people.

In 2015 Care4Calais worked with many Syrian refugees in the Calais camp. However, since Europe signed a widely criticised and inhumane deal with Turkey in 2016 that trapped millions of Syrian refugees in Turkey and Greece we have seen numbers of Syrian refugees in France drop drastically.

Small Camps

Partly due to the French authorities’ dispersal policy, small camps can spring up in various places around the northern coast of France.

There are a few such places where we visit small groups of refugees and take food, clothes and other supplies, and link with local people in the area who also help the refugees.

Belgian Kitchen

The Belgian kitchen is a fantastic organisation that we first began working with in the old Calais ‘Jungle’ where they provided over 1,000 hot cooked meals every day. They now operate out of a large disused building in Brussels where over 25 refugee families are hosted, and hot cooked meals continue to be provided for hundreds of refugees sleeping rough in the town centres.

The refugees themselves join in the preparation of the food and maintenance of the building, and Care4calais provides food supplies whenever we are able to.

Shelter

Care4Calais strive to make every donation count, so we have partnered with Shelter to donate items not suitable for distribution to refugees in northern France, such as extra large clothing, business or formal wear for example, to their shops, mostly in the South East of England.

We are committed to ensuring as little waste as possible and are very pleased to be working to support those suffering from homelessness in the UK.

Stand Up To Racism

We work closely with Stand Up To Racism on the campaign #RefugeesWelcome and regularly host groups of volunteers from their national network.

On each of the weekend trips Stand Up To Racism organised in winter 2017-18 over 100 people attended, with talks and a film screening finishing each day.

#FamiliesTogether

A bill is currently progressing through UK Parliament to broaden the scope of the family reunification provisions and bring them in line with many other countries in Europe; the UK rules are currently one of the two most restrictive in the EU.

Care4Calais have joined a coalition of organisations that are campaigning together for this bill including the Refugee Council, the British Red Cross, Amnesty International and Oxfam.

Any other ideas?

We are always open to volunteers with the connections and time to help us form new partnerships / start new projects. In the past we have had visits from teams of volunteer dentists, social workers and researchers. If you would like to work with us to bring a particular group or skill to help the refugees in Northern France, please contact us at clare@care4calais.org

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