The Mayor comes to see how we help refugees

The Mayor comes to see how we help refugees

Today we were delighted to welcome a special visitor to our distribution in south-west London – Councillor Jeremy Ambache, the Mayor of the Borough of Wandsworth. He arrived as we were giving out tinned food, clothes, toys and fresh fruit to 150 people, and stayed to chat with everyone afterwards. As you can see, he was also happy to let everyone get a selfie next to him and his impressive chain.

The Mayor wanted to learn how we supported people, and to talk to refugees about the struggles they face. Wandsworth Borough Council is hoping to become an official Borough of Sanctuary, which means it would adopt policies for making refugees feel welcome and valued, and today’s visit will help the Mayor advise them on how best to do that.

It was great to see a politician actually listening to refugees as they told him about their real-life experiences. He had a good conversation with Monir, a Bangladeshi refugee who Care4Calais works with, and with a group of Syrian women who told him what it’s like living in hotels waiting on your asylum claim.

At the end of the distribution, he told us that he’d learned lots of things, including the difficulties people faced with housing and health. One thing which stood out after seeing the food we provide, he said, was that people in the hotels didn’t have access to kitchens, so couldn’t easily prepare fresh food for themselves.

It gave me hope to see a local politician paying attention to details like this, realising first hand how important self-reliance is, and thinking of ways to achieve it.

I felt so proud of all our volunteers today as they helped with the distribution, and I was happy that the people we help got a chance to share their stories with someone like the Mayor. The Borough of Sanctuary can’t come soon enough.

Thanks to Dons Local Action – Wimbledon Hub and Sutton Community Farm for food supplies.

– Seema, Volunteer


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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