A small team of volunteers from Neighbours in Poplar, led by Sister Christine Frost, has travelled to Calais and then on to the refugee camp in Dunkerque, France, to offer aid and support to those living there. Working with the UK and French charity Care 4 Calais, the group delivered food items, sleeping bags and toiletries to the needy.
Sister Christine Frost said: “We had a productive day. We achieved our aims and were able to see for ourselves how awful the situation is. Nothing has got better. I say to people, please don’t take your eye off the ball. The problem is still there and will be so for a long time. It’s not other people’s story, it’s our story. I hope our trip will encourage others to carry out simple acts of kindness – it makes a huge difference to our world.”
The Dunkerque refugee camp shelters some 1,500 refugees – men, women and children – who previously lived in squalid conditions, surrounded by mud, rubbish and rats, in an unofficial camp nearby. The new camp, constructed by the city council and international medical organisation Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders), (MSF), at a cost of €4 million, provides more humane living conditions. Accommodation is in basic wooden shelters, but at least the surroundings are clean and safe.
•Neighbours In Poplar, founded in 1969, is a registered charity providing practical support to older, frail, isolated people of all cultures and faiths.
•Care4Calais is a UK and French registered charity founded by a group of volunteers that aims to deliver essential aid and support to refugees in Northern France and other areas, and to encourage the wider public to be more welcoming towards refugees. The core focus is to support refugees directly with a focus on providing fresh meals, warm clothing, heating and and social interaction. Care4Calais believes that every human has the right to be treated in a fair and dignified way. For more information, go to: