Spend a weekend helping feed & clothe migrants in Calais
Have you ever wanted to help destitute migrants in Calais, but not known where to start? Calais Light runs a regular car convoy, every 3 months from Brentwood, taking ordinary people to chop vegetables, wood & sort donations for refugees, volunteering in the amazing Help Refugees UK Warehouse, Refugee Community Kitchen & Care4Calais in Calais, France. It’s a work of mercy!
“Calais Light” takes manpower & money, not physical donations
There is huge & desperate need for volunteers in Calais. Since the Jungle was demolished in 2016, the situation in Calais has become increasingly worse for the refugees stranded there. Tents and their personal possessions are routinely destroyed by the police so they are currently living on the margins, in squalid & inhuman conditions with no shelter, in the wild.
The work that the three grassroots charities we support in Calais, Help Refugees UK, Refugee Community Kitchen & Care4Calais do is irreplaceable and cannot be underestimated. If they didn’t cook and distribute hot, culturally relevant, meals once a day, toiletries, tents, clothes & supplies to the refugees they would be starving, cold, wet, sleeping in hedgerows, without access to even basic sanitation.
We want to have as many people going to work there as possible. In order to achieve this, we have created a process that makes it so easy. There are no excuses!
We bring like-minded individuals together, in a friendly, supportive group, and organise convoys from start to finish creating a seamless experience. This gives people the confidence to go on their own or take family and friends in the future.
We are based in Brentwood, Essex and that is where most of us depart on the convoy. However, we have small groups of volunteers travelling from all over the country or London and we can, if necessary, meet them at the ferry crossing in Dover.
Why ‘Calais Light’?
The whole point about Calais Light resides in the title “Light”. We make it a light and easy process so you can see how easy it is to go on your own with your friends and colleagues. It’s also ‘Light’ – because we are a ‘light-touch’ organisation. We’re small but we want to create a sustainable service, one where you take responsibility for yourself, with little fuss, questions & paperwork. The weekend makes it totally compatible with work if you ask for Friday off to volunteer!
It’s a process-light, easily copiable model & the aim is not to take hordes ourselves but to show others how EASY it is to get some friends or groups together, learn the ropes & do it themselves. We want to help (via a mushroom effect) to provide the Warehouse with a consistent all year round stream of GROUPS of volunteers, not just individuals.
We also note that our volunteers are transformed by sharing some of the uncertainty of the people we go to help. So, we keep details to a necessary minimum. We travel fast, light & communicate digitally. We’ve discovered that getting your hands dirty & helping real people who have nothing actually changes you!
Invite Calais Light Founder, Mary Stretch, to your school
Calais Light Founder, Mary Stretch was invited by St John Payne School in Chelmsford to do a talk on the Calais Refugee situation & Calais Light volunteers, with videos & music. I also explained forced migration across Europe, the reasons why some migrants want to come to the UK & official figures of how many refugees have been accepted by European countries, including the UK to date!