Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper
Part of the Care4Calais Wish List

Part of the Care4Calais Wish List

Help needed for Calais refugees

Urgent items are needed for refugees in Calais who are caught between the British and the French authorities. A contentious issue.  However, if you would like to help those caught up in the fray, please read on, as local support is being generated and supplies are desperately needed. Zelly Restorick writes.

I heard about the planned trip over to Calais – taking supplies to refugees sleeping rough in horrible conditions and bad weather – and connected with Felicity Laurence from Hastings Community of Sanctuary to find out what was needed and the deadlines. She connected me with Jane Grimshaw (founder and coordinator of Hastings Supports Refugees) who is organising the collection of clothes and told me of the Talk being given by Clare Moseley, Founder of Care4 Calais.

Care4Calais: a talk by Clare Moseley

Clare Moseley, founder of Care4Calais is giving a talk this evening (Wed 24 January at 7.30pm) on behalf of Hastings Supports Refugees at their Hastings Debate event. Care4Calais helps people in Calais seeking sanctuary from war and poverty. Since the demolition of ‘the jungle’, the crisis is now worse than ever. Care4Calais are calling out for winter coats for refugees living in very freezing conditions.

If you wish, you can gather donations for Care4Calais and bring them to Hastings Debates, instead of the ‘official’ drop-off points. The venue is now The Printworks (14 Claremont, Hastings TN34 1HE) not the Palace.


“This collection is rather fast and furious”, writes Jane Grimshaw, “to coincide with Clare Moseley’s talk. She will be taking some donations back with her, and we have a second car going out at the very beginning of February. So I personally have a cut off date for donations of Sunday 30 January.”

“If you think you can help out with anything from the ITEMS NEEDED LIST, then please let me know.” Contact Jane via


I asked Felicity whether donations from charity shops would also be accepted? “Charity shop perfect of course! (as long as things are in pretty good condition. I sorted tonnes of clothes in Calais last year and anything remotely needing mending – eg zips – was simply discarded to the recycling boxes.

Are there cars going over to Calas fairly regularly or is this a one-off? “There seem to be cars going over from near – and not too far from – here, fairly often. The need is constantly enormous at the moment.”

There will be a piece in Hastings Independent Press this Friday about Clare’s talk and the Calais situation at the moment. More info can be found on the Hastings Supports Refugees Facebook page.

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Posted 17:03 Wednesday, Jan 24, 2018 In: Campaigns


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  1. Bea

    The overwhelming majority of refugees are women and children, plus older and disabled people, and they are stuck in camps or living rough mainly in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, as well as other parts of Syria as displaced persons. Some of them starving and desperate and many have been forced to push their under-age daughters into marriages to try and protect them and relieve pressure on the other children. Please can we help these, who number millions and not dozens. It might be less exciting to give money to the Red Cross, Unicef, UNHCR, UNFPA (which specifically helps women) etc but it will do real good. I agree that drawing people back into Calais by offering clothes, food etc in the area, when the authorities are trying to persuade them to register in France, is not a useful thing to do.

    Comment by Bea — Saturday, Jan 27, 2018 @ 11:15

  2. DAR

    A scenario. “Refugee” 1 gets to Britain via Calais. He (most likely a “he”) gets in touch with his relatives and friends in his country of origin. “Hey, there are Brits in Calais to help you out so you’ve got a good chance of making it into UK! And when you get to Calais, you can claim to have family in Britain – me! That’ll give you an even better chance of getting in.” “Refugee” 2 sets off – and repeats the cycle…or never arrives, having been drowned/run over/enslaved/murdered along the way.

    Comment by DAR — Thursday, Jan 25, 2018 @ 12:51

  3. Jane Grimshaw

    Hi Pop, thank you for voicing your concerns. On behalf of Hastings Supports Refugees I am very happy to address them for you.
    Firstly the issue of women and children. Well there are many Women and children as Refugees, however there aren’t really any sleeping rough in and around Calais at this time. When a family faces the heart breaking decision to flee war or persecution often they can only afford to send away one family member, that sadly is usually the oldest boy. Also the journey to Calais is very hard and dangerous. So Women, children and the old tend to stay in the first place they reach. Often being internally displaced with in their own country, hoping war won’t catch up with them there as we are seeing in parts of Syria now. Or they will stay in camps in adjoining countries such as Jordan or Turkey for the Syrians or Pakistan for the Afghans. Conditions there are bad and often the countries them selves not too stable. Those that have crossed the Mediterranean will often stay in Greece as the journey onward is now virtually impossible with small children. Families sometimes then send on a male family member to try and get asylum somewhere with the vain hope that if they achieve this the rest of the family can be sent for.
    People are claiming asylum in France and Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands etc. In fact all over Europe. Germany has taken nearly 17 times more refugees than we have. When the jungle camp was cleared in late 2016 France took most of the occupants and housed them in reception centres from where they could claim asylum. However there are an amount of people for whom staying in France isn’t an option. The pull to the UK is usually because people have a connection to here, be it family members or a common language.
    The question of weather it is genuinely helping them to stay in Calais is a difficult one. The British Government’s line has been to make it as unattractive as possible to be there and it will stop the “pull factor”. This has not worked it hasn’t stopped people coming and most likely won’t stop them coming. What it has done is strip them of their humanity and forced them to live in conditions most of us could not even imagine. Tents and sleeping bags are confiscated nightly by the police, possessions and people constantly sprayed with tear gas. And while it is the French authorities carrying out this brutality be under no illusion as to who pays the bill for it. The Uk government has joint responsibility for maintains the border in France rather than in the U.K. And we foot the bill to the tune of millions of ££ for it. In the Macron- May summit recently we pledged a further 45 million to maintain the border. This sadly does not all go on fences!
    So when faced with people with no access to sanitation, last night we heard of young men going 8 weeks with out having a shower or a change of clothes, food or warmth then the human reaction is to reach out and try to help in any small way we can.
    The local Calais community is in a difficult position. And living all these years with this situation has hardened them against the refugees but there are French organisations who work with the refugees, L’auberge des migrants being the main one.
    Is this a greater priority than helping local rough sleepers? Here I can only give you my own feelings, it’s a deeply personal matter that we all have to come to our own conclusions about. For me the answer is no, it is an equal priority. We are all human where ever we come from what ever our backgrounds. No one should be sleeping rough. I have made the personal choice to have the plight of refugees as my personal priority, but that does not mean I don’t support local homeless charities too. We are through our work setting up Hastings as part of the City of sanctuary network trying to actively forge links with food banks and other groups working in this area.
    I hope this helps! You aren’t being obtuse at all by asking these questions, it’s really important to have discussions like this and try and counter the false or skewed versions of what is happening that are represented in the British press.

    Comment by Jane Grimshaw — Thursday, Jan 25, 2018 @ 10:25

  4. Zelly Restorick

    Dear Pop, I also have wondered about the absence of women and children myself – and why it seems to be mainly men. Not in an anti-man way. And I too thought that we don’t have to go as far as Calais to experience or respond to suffering and poor living conditions and circumstances. There are plenty of the people in the town who need help and support.
    However, I still feel like Clare’s cause is a good one and clearly she is very dedicated to helping those who are caught in this trap – and who knows each person’s individual story? As each person does have a unique individual story – and we can’t just say ‘The Refugees’ like this tells us something about the refugee as a unique person.
    And what is it like for the people of Calais? Again, they are all individuals and will have different responses.
    As I said, it’s a contentious – and a multi-layered issue. Britain has played an active role in the violence around the world, although we are by no means solely responsible – and war is not the only cause of migration, as we know historically – there are many reasons that make us want to move from where we are and seek a new life.
    Thank you for taking the time to respond to the article.
    Zelly Restorick – on behalf of HOT. I will also forward your message to the others involved locally – i.e. John, Felicity and Jane.

    Comment by Zelly Restorick — Thursday, Jan 25, 2018 @ 08:48

  5. Pop

    Some genuine questions: Why are no women’s or children’s clothes required? Why aren’t people claiming asylum in France? Is it genuinely helping them to enable them to stay in Calais? How is this affecting the local Calais community? Is this a greater priority for us than local causes, including the increasing number of rough sleepers on the sea front? I’m not being obtuse, just trying to understand.

    Comment by Pop — Wednesday, Jan 24, 2018 @ 21:12

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