Bristol's refugee response

Published on: 26 Sep 2015

By Elly Bernard, Calais Refugee Solidarity Bristol

SOUTH Bristol’s response to the refugee crisis in Europe has been overwhelming and humbling. As the appalling pictures of refugees fleeing for their lives on unsafe boats or walking desperately towards borders became more widespread, local people rose up and started asking what we could do to help.

Almost overnight, collection points sprung up all over the city, including at the Bristol Wood Recycling Project, the Tobacco Factory and Computershare in South Bristol. Within a weekend all collection points were overwhelmed with donations. Warehouse space was donated by Hengrove-based company Phineas Products and volunteers arrived to transport and sort the donations.

The Calais Refugee Solidarity Bristol group, a grassroots alliance of ordinary Bristolians, have worked round the clock to mobilise sorting, storage and logistics of the goods. We have linked up with agencies on the ground who are appealing to donors to avoid causing further problems in the already overcrowded refugee camp in Calais known as the Jungle.

We closed collection points for a week so we could arrange longer term storage solutions and organise the group. We have set up sub-groups for Fundraising, Media, Transport, Networking, Schools and Volunteers. We re-opened drop-off points on September 14, and have again been overwhelmed by the generosity of Bristolians.

We have a clear list of what we can accept. Please note there are few women and children in the Jungle, so women’s clothes and children’s toys will be turned away as we do not have space to store them.

Together with this practical action, we have seen a huge groundswell of good feeling and of solidarity, sending the very clear message that refugees are welcome here.

We are raising money for a variety of health, sanitation and food projects in Calais.

To donate or get involved see our website: wwwbristolcalaisrefugee

Current drop off points:

1. Bristol Wood Recycling Project 13 Cattle Market Road, St Phillips, Bristol, BS1 6QW. 11am-4pm Mon-Fri

2. The Henbury Centre Machin Road, Henbury, BS10 7HG. 10am-2pm on Tues, Wed and Thurs. 0117 950 7160

3. Emmaus Bristol Upper York Street, St Pauls, Bristol, BS2 8WF. 11am-4pm Mon-Fri

4. Computershare The Pavillions, Bridgewater Road, BS13 8AE. 11am-4pm Mon-Fri 

• Keep an eye on our Facebook group or Twitter for latest news.


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