With Glastonbury being in our local area, the festival is bound to impact on what we do in RAISE, and it certainly has this year! We held slightly fewer donation drops sessions at Your Storage Space and focused some of our efforts into salvaging some of the very usable items left behind after the festival.
Working with Aid Box Convoy, a Bristol group, a number of our volunteers threw themselves into gathering tents, sleeping bags and food. Some were sorted and packed on site and driven off by ABC volunteers, more came back to our warehouse for sorting and sending.
One of our volunteers had his 4×4 filled with food that isn’t needed in Calais, and so had the happy job of delivering it to the Frome food bank run by Fair Frome. Great to be able to give something to local people in need too!
More of the Calais-suitable food is already on it’s way: just as well as the Calais kitchens are currently desperately short of food.
An interesting outcome from the festival is that we have acquired a caravan! It was a bit of a spur of the moment decision, but hopefully a good one! We’ll be fitting the caravan out as a home, and towing it across to Calais where it’ll be allocated to people at the top of their vulnerable persons list. More about that soon!
Another mega donation we received this month was from Threshold Sports, who donated a wonderful pile of camping mats and sleeping bags for us to take to Calais. These will be massively helpful in providing comfortable places to sleep for the large number of new refugees arriving each day.
Some of the camping mats and all of the sleeping bags have already been taken to Calais, as we’ve sent three more car loads of donations out this month.
We’ve also sent a car load of aid to RAFT (Refugee Aid from Taunton) who’ll send it on to Syria, and we have more boxes ready to go to them too.
Justine Corrie and I gave a talk to children at the Frome Selwood Academy, and were interviewed by the GLO group for a film they were making. Justine explained what is happening in the world at the moment with refugees, and told them about her experiences in The Jungle. I told them about the work we do in RAISE to help refugees, both direct and supporting other groups. They were a great, attentive audience, and I hope this has helped to foster an active interest in world affairs and a ‘can do’ attitude in these young people. However overwhelming the situation is as a whole, we can all do something to help.
We continue to support refugees given asylum in the UK, and have re-homed several items this month including bicycles, furniture and a guitar.
This month we’re going to be carrying on doing what we do so well: collecting clothing, blankets, sleeping bags, tents etc for refugees in Calais and beyond, but we’re also going to be supporting three amazing young women: ‘The Wild Washerwomen’.
Flora (from Frome) and her friends Zoe and Clem have managed to equip a van with two washing machines, a tumble drier and a generator, and are driving out to Calais at the end of the month where they will wash and dry refugee’s clothes, and give them English conversation lessons. Brilliant idea, and now we want to add final touch of help to set them on their way, so can you donate clothes washing liquid or powder this month please? Donations can be brought to our regular donation drop sessions in Frome or Bruton, or if you’d rather donate money towards this, please do so on the fundraising site we have set up specifically for this purpose. £3.50 can buy clothes wash for 24 washes (more if you tick the gift aid box) and costs less than a pint at the pub! Please contribute today by clicking here!
And finally, this is our donation drop poster for July. We’ll continue to be open every Monday afternoon plus one Saturday at our warehouse hub in Your Storage Space, Unit 1, Wallbridge, Frome BA11 5JZ. If you fancy volunteering to help for a session (or more) we’d love to hear from you. You can also drop smaller loads at our satellite drop point at Mill on the Brue in Bruton. If you could provide a similar satellite drop point in another nearby village or town, or could arrange a collection in your school, church or community it would be brilliant. And as always, if you could print and display our July poster (below), it would be wonderful!
Many thanks, once again, to everyone who helped at the donation drops, the drivers who have moved donations around our local area and all the way out to France, to everyone who donated goods and money, to Mill on the Brue for hosting our Bruton satellite, and especially to Rich and Fraser at Your Storage Space, who make all the rest of this possible.