Following the death of three year old Aylan Kurdi in 2015 many people became more aware of the refugee crisis and started taking action to help. In particular many small groups developed in the UK collecting aid and taking it to Calais.
The network of grassroots groups is gradually becoming less fragmented. We had become aware that there was a second local group, primarily from Midsomer Norton and Radstock, operating as ‘Calais Action South West’ from Storagebase Self Store on the outskirts of Frome.
Over the past few months we have started to work together as we both had the same aims, and it seemed silly not to. RAISE has more local volunteers, and so a number of us have already been out to Storagebase to help the Calais Action South West team sort, pack and load their donations. We have also transported some of the aid they collected.
Calais Action South West have recently decided to stop operating independently of RAISE, and to join forces with us. They bring with them lovely donors and volunteers, and an additional donation drop point in Storagebase, all of which we warmly welcome.
One brilliant thing is that Storagebase are happy for aid donations to be dropped off during their opening hours, without a volunteer being there to receive them (like with our satellite donation drop at Mill on the Brue in Bruton). This means we can improve our service to donors, offering 7 day drop offs.
As the unit we have in Storagebase is smaller, we can’t do the detailed sorting that we achieve in Your Storage Space, where we now have getting on for 100 categories to sort to. We therefore aim to quality check and do basic sorting of donations in Storagebase, and then move donations across for fine sorting.
We may run other specific services and projects from Storagebase too, as things develop.
We will continue to receive donations every Monday afternoon and the third Saturday morning of every month in Your Storage Space, and would encourage people to bring larger donations direct to this, our main sorting space.
We are incredibly grateful to both Your Storage Space, Storagebase and Mill on the Brue, for continuing to support the vital humanitarian work that we do in RAISE.
Storagebase Self Storage can be found at 1 Cornbrash, Commerce Park, Frome BA11 2FD.
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