New year news

So it’s one week into 2016 and Refugee Aid-Stroud has been busy…Firstly, we made cracking progress in the warehouse. As some may be aware, we’re handing the warehouse back to the council at the end of the month as we decided  that the cash we’d have to pay from now on in business rates would be better spent directly on refugees. We’ve also learnt through our recent experience and realised that to be more efficient and effective, it would be better to concentrate on fundraising. We’re aiming to provide volunteers, direct funds and aid to groups on the ground (particularly those we’re working with now and who have personal connections to Stroud &  Stroudies). We’ll still, however, be collecting specific items for specific locations that don’t need a large warehouse to store.

So..clearing the warehouse and getting everything to where it’s needed is a priority and this past week has seen a great Stroudie effort: nearly all donations boxes filled & sealed and ready to go (some to Calais & Dunkirk, some to Greece and, fingers crossed, hopefully some direct to Syria), jumble sorted & filtered for the good stuff, rejected clothing taken to Cash4Clothes in Gloucester and sold for ready cash (to be spent on food for Calais & Dunkirk) and some particularly lovely stuff taken to the pop up shop for fundraising. Many thanks to all the volunteers  who came to help – you’re all marvellous.

As well as the warehouse efforts, the pop up shop re-opened (see below post), a large donation was steered to the wonderful Building Support through Shelter of Bristol ( who have a Stroudie connection) to help them repair structures and provide wood-burners to the blockaded camp at Dunkirk.  The French local authorities have been preventing volunteers building new structures or replacing tents but are allowing 24hrs access on Monday 11th so this crew will be hard at it repairing and replacing and putting in burners. They appealed for a rapid response tent & bedding collection too, so Jeannie sent off the suitable stuff from our warehouse pronto this morning and everything was gathered in Bristol and is on its way…

We also had a good meeting at the Prince Albert to discuss progress and setting up a bank account for the fund (details will be posted when available), set a provisional date for a jumble sale (watch this space) and planned the next trip to Calais. We’ll be setting off next weekend with the remaining warehouse donations, food and cash for more food. If you’d like to donate specifically for this trip, and to know your cash will be feeding people within the week, please pay into our crowdfunder on the  How you can help page – ‘refugees in crisis’ – and state ‘food’ to distinguish from the general fund. There’s also a big jar in the pop up shop for donations.

So…a pretty busy week. And a good indication of how far we’ve come since a few people murmured, “we should do something…”