Though Calais and Dunkirk have disappeared from our screens, recent estimates indicate that over 1,500 people are living rough in Northern France; 200 of whom are unaccompanied children.
In Calais itself, around 1000 people are sleeping in forests, under bridges and behind industrial buildings, often with little more than a sleeping bag for protection. French authorities are regularly destroying their tents and belongings in random acts of aggression making life here even more dangerous for those already in dire straits.
A further 500-600 people are living in Dunkirk, also without shelter. These include families, some with young children who, with nowhere else to go, sleep in parks and on the streets.
Over the past three years several groups from Marlow have been to volunteer for short periods in Calais. We believe this is a really good way for people with limited time to feel a real personal involvement with the situation and make a difference. Through our Convoy to Calais scheme, we intend to see this number continue to grow.
In October 2019, Marlow resident Dom Ford started a 6 month stint as Warehouse Manager for Collective Aid in Calais. As a result of his experience and discussions with Collective Aid about how best MRA can support the operation, we agreed to part fund a new vehicle for their distributions.
In June 2020 the funds were donated and the new van was purchased!
To learn more about life on the front line, you can read from the experiences of a recent volunteer, Liz or alternatively, take a look at Dom’s blogs and videos in which he shares the reality of the situation from his time as Warehouse Manager.
Inspired to join the cause? Drop us an email to see what we’re currently working on.