Hartlepool for Calais: Group’s plea for help to deliver aid to refugees in France

Collecting for refugees at Calais are l-r Fiona Wilkins, John Christal, Thomas McConnell and Kathy Dales.
Collecting for refugees at Calais are l-r Fiona Wilkins, John Christal, Thomas McConnell and Kathy Dales.

A group of big-hearted volunteers are appealing to people and businesses in Hartlepool to help them deliver aid to refugees in France.

The group calling itself Hartlepool for Calais is preparing to travel to Calais next month to help people affected by the migration crisis.

They plan to take food supplies, warm clothing and toiletries to people in the migrant camps in northern France.

John Christal, one of the group, said: “We have all done various charitable things but after seeing the pictures on the news and hearing stories from people who have been we just wanted to do something.

“They are our brothers and sisters, winter is coming up and they have very little.”

The volunteers are linking up with other groups in the area to share information and make sure the trip runs as smoothly as possible.

They have also approached local schools asking them to draw a picture or write a message of support and contacted supermarkets.

The group have set a target of raising £1,000 which they will spend on supplies when they get to France.

John added: “The response so far has been amazing. We have got over £600 in just over a week.”

Fellow group member Kathy Dales said: “For £3.50 we can create a bag of basics for a person so if we raise £1,000 we can get toiletries and food to feed at least 300 to 400 people.”

A Hartlepool teacher has just returned home from a successful mission to a camp in Calais where there are 3,000 migrants living there from Sudan, Afghanistan, Iran, Syria and other war-torn countries.

Jenni Yuill, 38, a co-founder of North East Solidarity With Refugees, said: “The trip was more of a success than we could have hoped for.

“It was an opportunity to meet organisations on the ground we are working alongside, learn what the people in camp need as priority and helped us get an idea of what skills are needed in the group for future trips.”

The group distributed aid including shoes, jackets, hygiene packs, tents and sleeping bags amongst other things.

There are numerous ways you can support Hartlepool For Calais, which intends to travel to France between October 11-13.

Donate online at www.crowdfunding.justgiving.com/hartlepoolforcalais or see their page on Facebook.

You can also email hartlepoolforcalais@hotmail.com or call John on 07595 673792 or Kathy on 07481 535859.