Care4Calais and West London Welcome launch ‘The Shop’ clothes bank for asylum seekers
We’ve joined with our friends at West London Welcome to launch ‘The Shop’ in Hammersmith – a clothes bank specifically for newly arrived asylum seeking people housed in hotels in West London. Through this joint project, we will be supporting up to 600 people with clothes, shoes, toiletries, books, toys, luggage, phones and other donations over the next month. The team have been overwhelmed with clothing donations for local asylum seekers, who are legally unable to work and receive little to no subsistence payments.
West London Welcome is a community centre ‘run for and with refugees, asylum seekers, migrants and other locals’ – building a community, and lasting friendships and support networks. Their food and clothes banks, and hot food takeaways have been running safely during the pandemic, and English classes, legal advice and social sessions are continuing online.
The Shop was born thanks to one of the Labour councillors in Hammersmith, Councillor David Morton, who liaised with Hammersmith and Fulham Council to find us a local space. We organised calls for donations and local volunteers through both our networks. This collaboration has been excellent – we’ve been able to reach more volunteers and bring in many more donations than we would have as individual organisations, making the most of WLW being deeply embedded in the Hammersmith community.
Joanne MacInnes, Director of WLW, said: ‘It’s been fantastic to partner with Care4Calais and open The Shop. It’s already proving to be an incredibly effective way of ensuring local asylum seeking people have the clothes, toiletries and other essential items they need to survive through the winter months. Until now, many of these highly vulnerable people, including families with babies, only had the clothes they first arrived here in. We’re also able to pick up on the profound challenges facing these asylum seekers as we meet them at The Shop, and find ways of supporting them.’
We are currently looking for working, wiped smartphones for newly arrived asylum seeking people, and welcome any donations – please email [email protected] if you can help.
To volunteer with Care4Calais in the U.K., email [email protected]