Volunteers and donations are still needed as the number of refugees in Calais continues to rise - as expected.
Here is the latest message from Help Refugees: "In the weeks and months to come we envisage our warehouse being a hub supplying aid to partner organisations across France, wider Europe and the Middle East, while also continuing to support the residents of the Dunkirk camp and various smaller satellite camps in the area. We will therefore continue to need volunteers, albeit on a slightly smaller scale than previously.
We welcome all fit and active adults, as well as 16 & 17 year olds if accompanied by a legal guardian.
Any time you are able to spend volunteering in Calais will be absolutely invaluable. If you are able to spend a week or more, that is simply fantastic. If you are able to coordinate a group of friends/colleagues to come, too, then better still.
The sort of tasks we will ask you to spend time doing will depend upon your skills and interests as well as the most urgent needs during the period you are with us. We will try to mix it up. Some of the areas we will ask for your support may include helping with sorting and processing of donations as well as preparation for distribution of supplies in our warehouse.
All the work is vital, but it can be repetitive and demanding so please think carefully about your commitment and abilities before completing the form. We are seeking willing and flexible volunteers who are prepared to turn their hand to any task, if possible. "
If you have queries about the volunteering process that are not addressed on this page, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
If you wish to drop off aid at the warehouse, please contact email@example.com with details and dates.
Don't forget to check out @HelpRefugeesUK on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for the latest updates.
In early October, 2015, various charities and grassroots organisations on the ground in Calais decided to work together to coordinate the many volunteers wanting to travel to Calais to help, and the huge amount of aid being delivered. The centre of much of this activity was the Help Refugees/L'Auberge Des Migrants warehouse, which continues to serve a vital role in providing aid to refugees in northern France.
TO SNAP OR NOT TO SNAP
SUPPORT FOR VOLUNTEERS
A group of 25 qualified therapists under the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy and the UK Centre for Psychotherapy. offer a single pro bono therapy sessions to volunteers who are returning from the refugee camps across Europe.
If you are interested in grounding your experiences from the camps or needing some support as you adjust to coming home, please contact Elizabeth on firstname.lastname@example.org.
There is also a Facebook group SSuN (The Solidarity and Support Network) that seeks to support British people volunteering in European refugee camps by buddying them with volunteer psychological therapists and experienced former humanitarian workers who make regular contact by telephone or Skype while they are in the camps or following their return.
September 23rd 2016
Information for prospective volunteers following press reports of inappropriate behaviour from some volunteers.
There is no effective control of who goes in to the Calais camp or what they do when they are there- it is one of the reasons it is such a dangerous place for minors.
The groups out there can't single-handedly 'make' Calais safe but volunteers can do three things;
1. behave in the appropriate way;
2. make sure the places they have control over are safe, respectful and appropriate;
3. report any behaviour that is outside their control.
In essence, this means registering with an association or organisation - partly for safety but partly because they have a code of conduct. When you sign up to work with HelpRefugees/l'Auberge, for example, you agree to their standards of behaviour- which are based on the UNHCR guidelines.
Some organisations which work in sensitive areas operate vetting of volunteers:
the medical caravans check GMC numbers before you are allowed to work;
the youth service ask for a current DBS check before you can work with them.
Volunteers are working to make these places 'safe spaces' and all the grassroots organisations work to discourage casual un-vetted contact with these vulnerable groups.
if you see or hear something that concerns you, report the volunteer to the organisation they are registered with. That organisation will have a process for managing issues as part of their safeguarding process.
Some issues involve people who are not registered with anyone. Such people, given they are operating in a completely unregulated environment are inevitably more difficult to deal with. If you are concerned about someone in this category, please contact one of the senior representatives of an association on the ground for advice. These people know the camp, the volunteers, the hangers-around and the situation and it's unique complexity. They can tell you what you can do, such as contacting the community leaders.
If a crime has been committed please report it to the appropriate authority. Please note the CRS are not in most circumstances the appropriate authority.
Remember the site is technically illegal and uncontrolled; there is no one person or group responsible and able to control or manage what goes on. The many groups over there are doing what they can, and new things are always being explored to try and improve safeguarding on site.