The wonderful work of Hastings Supports Refugees
We are so proud of our great friends Hastings Supports Refugees. As well as supporting refugees in the Hastings area with clothes and other essentials, Hastings Supports Refugees have recently put together a special Emergency Response Team. That team provide food, drink, dry clothes and a warm welcome to groups of people who have made the perilous journey across the Channel, and been brought into Hastings by rescue services.
They were moved to start the team after a tiny boat washed up on a nearby beach two months ago. A HSR member happened to be there and witnessed the boat being held on the water by Border Force for more than three hours, with no official provision of food, drinks or clothing.
Since then the HSR team has raced to provide sustenance and clothes to many refugees who have made the dangerous journey, including people from Egypt, Sudan, Libya, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Kuwait and China. On November 11, 53 people were rescued in the Channel from their tiny dinghy by Hastings RNLI and brought into Hastings beach, having spent 18 hours on the water. Among them were five children, all girls, and three women, one of whom was six months pregnant.
Five days later, Hastings RNLI lifeboat brought in 40 people on board, including 5 unaccompanied minors. They had been at sea for 20 hours, and everyone was cold, exhausted and very relieved to have made it here.
In situations like this, a huge team effort provides the refugees with hot drinks and food, warm dry clothing and toiletries. It’s incredibly important and valuable work.
“Conditions in Northern France are intolerable for refugees and people are desperate to get away before they are forced to spend the whole winter there,” says Jane Grimshaw, Co-Chair of Hastings Community of Sanctuary and co-ordinator of the response team.
“Because of the support of the people of Hastings we were able to mobilise our team and be on site within 20 minutes of that first message, offering a warm welcome, support, warm clothing, blankets and supplies.
“None of this would have been possible if it wasn’t for the ongoing support of the people of our town. We have supplies of warm clothing and funding in place to restock our essentials of snacks, drinks, pants and socks.
“So we want to take this moment to thank you all for making this possible and to wish a very warm welcome to everyone we were fortunate enough to meet today.”
This really is amazing is an amazing and compassionate achievement; a testament to the power of human kindness, empathy and compassion.