Eastwood Refugee Aid says thank you

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Volunteers delivering much-needed aid to refugees in France have said a massive thank you to Extra readers for their help.

As reported in The Extra, Eastwood residents involved in October’s Convoy to Calais set out again on February 17, having met a fundraising target of £2,000.

The cash was bound for Dunkirk this time, to buy waterproof boots for those in need — and the local volunteers were able to distribute 200 pairs, as well as other essentials.

Peter Buchanan, of Eastwood Refugee Aid (ERA), told The Extra: “In October, the Dunkirk camp had 500 occupants. Since then it has risen to 3,000, and the place is a swamp.

“Anything that we can do to keep people dry and warm is a necessity. It’s a drop in the ocean, but we have to do something.”

Following last week’s trip, he said: “On day one we distributed 200 new pairs of winter boots and 300 pairs of warm socks.

“On day two, we took 106 bottles of gas needed for the stoves to make hot food, and distributed 300 oranges, 300 bananas and hundreds of loaves. We also delivered four huge bags of fruit and bread to the camp kitchen.”

Peter added: “There are children in the camp sleeping in six inches of emulsified mud — no heaters, no way to get dry in freezing conditions. What we witnessed is utterly inhumane.

“The generosity of your readers has made a real difference, bringing a small ray of light to these people’s lives. From all of us at ERA, thank you!”

The group are now looking at a four month-long fundraiser before making another trip ahead of next winter.

The new fundraising page has a target of £5,000 to provide refugees with more vital supplies — see crowdfunding.justgiving.com/Btd for more info.