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. Due to distance we visit every three or four weeks, but we go with vans packed full of aid and we allow time to interact with the refugees and locals.
In the depths of the freezing weather this winter it was heart warming to see some locals open centres and homes for a few days to get people off the streets; but as with everywhere else there was also local opposition. The refugees in this area are lovely people, and a visit there is always a pleasure.