VOLUNTEERS working to help ease the plight of refugees have been overwhelmed by the generosity of Redditch residents.
At their monthly collection day at the Bridge Church hall on Saturday, which ran in tandem with a similar event at Redditch Central Mosque in Jinnah Road, there was a constant stream of cars pulling up and bin liners filled with clothes, tents, pot, pans and more dropped off.
The aim, said Sue Yeng of campaign group Bromsgrove and Redditch Welcomes Refugees (BRWR), had been to fill a ‘Sprinter’ van with the kit to take down to the camps in Calais, but such had been the response that two or possibly three vehicles were now going to make the trip.
“We are absolutely delighted with the response – people have been so generous,” she said.
“After the Brexit vote there was all this inflammatory language going around nationally but it’s been the reverse here and we are so proud of Redditch.”
Fellow volunteer Alistair Waugh added that with winter on its way the need for appropriate clothing was becoming all the greater.
“What isn’t suitable for Calais goes out to Greece or Uganda, so nothing is wasted,” he said.
“The situation is not good – from the latest census of ‘The Jungle’ in Calais there are 700 children in the camps, 78 per cent of them unaccompanied and the refugees there are constantly being harassed by the French authorities.”
Members of BRWR have been busy going into schools letting local youngsters know of the plight of refugees and letting people know how they can help.
The next clothing collection is scheduled for Saturday, October 1.
The BRWR initiative is part of a co-ordinated operation under the umbrella of the charity People in Motion which is working directly with refugees in the camps.