Craven College Students Help Calais Refugees
Although events in Calais are no longer dominating the UK news, charities estimate that around 1500 people are still living in the area in make-shift camps, many in the forests of Northern France. It is thought that up to 200 of these are unaccompanied children.
The majority of people are living without shelter and are regularly moved on by local authorities; many with new-born babies and nowhere to sleep other than in the forests, in local parks, under bridges or behind industrial units.
All of these areas lack access to the basic facilities that we all take for granted – water, warmth and food. After Craven College students were visited by local asylum seekers, the Health and Social Care students decided to mount a campaign of support. With the help of local volunteer Heather Hutchinson, students came to understand the lengths of the journeys that many people had undertaken, and that to them, the arrival at Calais marked a significant point in their progress. It was suggested that a good way to mark this point is to provide “welcome packs” and so students quickly engaged in a variety of fund-raising activities in order to buy the essential elements. Through their activities, students have been able to create 50 welcome packs which contain a toothbrush, toothpaste, tissues, wet-wipes, socks, underwear and sanitary products for females. Students have also written 50 individualised notes in which they share their horror at what their fellow humans have gone through, and hope that they find a better future. Craven College donated 50 water-proof drawstring bags in which the contents of the welcome packs could be stored.
Team leader – student Stacie Lever says ‘I feel incredibly proud of what the Health and Social Care students have achieved, and I am now looking forward to returning to Craven College in September to mount a campaign to provide 50 winter coats!’