Collecting coats in Ambleside

Collecting coats in Ambleside


Today was an uplifting day, and heartwarming in more ways than one.

In the morning I was talking to our volunteers in Calais about how bitterly cold and wet it was getting there. The freezing temperatures, and the police taking away their tents means that right now, the refugees sleeping rough are cold to the bone. It makes me keep thinking about how vital it was to provide them with clothes that will keep them warm and dry.

Then out of the blue I got a message from the Lake District.

Claire and Alec, who run Rattle Ghyll Fine Food and Cafe in Ambleside, were calling to say that in the run up to Christmas they had organised a coat drive. Residents and visitors had been dropping off their spare winter coats – and amazingly, some even went out to buy one to donate.

The drive had collected 150 winter coats!

They called to say the coats were ready for collection and today, I went to pick them up. They’ll be driven by other volunteers all the way to Calais and Dunkirk.

As we were loading the car, Claire and Alec’s four-and-a-half-year-old daughter asked if I had a home, to which I replied, “Yes, but I help people who don’t have homes right now, whose homes weren’t safe like yours and mine. And with this, you’ve helped them too.”

“Good!” she smiled, did an excited twirl.

Just little snatch of conversation, but it made me think how events like these can spur on conversations that make people see refugees as real people. It was particularly lovely to see how many children’s coats there were, and to imagine the conversations parents had with their children of why they were donating their coats.

Driving away with a car stuffed fill of winter warms, I thought about how the compassion would mean 150 people in Calais would be warmer and dryer this winter.

If you’d like to help too – but can’t physically donate a coat – we’re asking you to purchase one of our Christmas gift vouchers. For £20 you will receive a personalised e-voucher that you can gift to a loved one – and we’ll gift a waterproof coat to a refugee. A gift that gives twice. To purchase, visit the link in our bio.

Thank you so much to Rattle Ghyll for being conduits of your community’ kindness 

About Care4Calais

Care4Calais was founded by a group of volunteers with the sole aim of supporting the people of the Calais refugee camps, providing fresh meals, warm clothing, heating and important legal and medical support.

We are not politicians – we are people like you who simply believe that every human has the right to be treated in a fair and dignified way.

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