WE ARE SEVEN ASSOCIATIONS WORKING WITH REFUGEES IN CALAIS.
TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC AND ALL OUR SUPPORTERS,
Since the ‘Jungle’ refugee camp was destroyed in 2016, the media have largely moved on from Calais. Yet people fleeing war, persecution and climate change hasn’t stopped. From Afghanistan to Ukraine, people are still seeking safety, and for many people that means joining family or communities in the UK.
While the boat crossings might occasionally make it onto British news, the bigger picture is ignored: how millions of pounds from UK taxpayers are being spent on making this one of the most hostile and dangerous borders in Europe.
Today, there are still people stuck in Calais, living in tents or under tarpaulin in temporary settlements scattered across the area. Grassroots organisations working on the ground have adapted to the deteriorating conditions and continue to support people on the move by providing a range of basic services which neither the French nor British authorities are willing to offer. This includes the distribution of clothing, water, food, shoes, tents, backpacks, hygiene packs, first aid, firewood and information, as well as specialized support for unaccompanied minors, children, and women.
We have been able to continue to support displaced communities in Calais over the years thanks to donations from our supporters. In 2021, we suffered a major loss in funding. On top of this, we’re facing a worsening situation with increased harassment from police and locals obstructing us from carrying out essential humanitarian aid.
That’s why we launched the Calais Appeal, to inform our supporters and the wider public about the situation on the UK-French border, the mistreatment of displaced communities and our own efforts to support people on the move. Now, more than ever, we recognise that we must act together to guarantee the long-term future of front-line grassroots groups in northern France and our ability to deliver vital support.
If we were to have to withdraw from Calais there would be dangerous gaps left in the provision of services to displaced people - basic warmth, shelter and food. We are therefore in urgent need of support in order to be able to remain in Calais and to keep covering necessities and fostering dignity for displaced communities, for as long as there are people on the move forced to sleep rough, with no rights guaranteed, suffering as a result of unfair and inhumane European migration policies.
We work on a basis of solidarity, and funds are split between our members who need it. Our partners have opted not to receive money from the Calais Appeal but are equally involved in the running of the platform. If their financial situation changes, we will be the first to support them.
Our grassroots organisations in Calais have shared forces and expertise during the many years that we have been working together on the ground. Through Calais Appeal we hope to build a community of solidarity that stretches far beyond Calais - building awareness of what is happening here and connections with people from all over the world who believe in protecting human rights.
Your support is more important now than ever. From small to big donations, every contribution makes our work possible.