Thanks to the generous people of Stroud, the funds are rolling in and rolling straight out again….The proceeds of the SVA art auction, Rasmachaz shop takings, standing orders from individuals and money raised from local coffee mornings and jumble sales have given RAS the opportunity to fund various projects, buy direct aid and send volunteers to where they are needed, whether that’s the Calais and Dunkirk camps or to the refugee crisis points in Greece. We’ve funded tonnes of food, lots of sleeping bags, masses of firewood, 50 fire extinguishers, travel costs for volunteers, art therapy projects for young refugees and much, much more. You can see updates on this funding via the blackboard outside Rasmachaz on Stroud High St (see pic below) or keep an eye on our Facebook page.
Our aim, as always, is to direct funds to the grassroots groups on the ground as swiftly and efficiently as we can, with as much transparency and openness as possible. However, we can only continue to do this with the support of our wonderful local community – so please get in touch with any fundraising initiatives or pop into the shop at 47 High St, Stroud for further information.
Our latest project, in partnership with One Nation, is to send a 40ft container of food aid to Syria – that’s 1000 family food boxes! Items required and drop off points are listed on the posters below and you can donate food individually or as part of a group (school/workplace/club etc.). One Nation is funding the container and shipping and RAS is supplying the aid with the help of our local community in Stroud and beyond. We will be buying items in bulk as well as collecting donations so, if you would rather make a financial contribution for this project, please do so via our bank account at Lloyds Bank, sort 30 95 96 account 19336860, with reference ‘Syria food’. Please ONLY donate the items on the list: dried food in 1kg bags, as in the pic below of an example box. Thank you once again!
We are properly over the moon today to receive the proceeds of the fundraising art auction organised and run by our local arts charity SVA (Stroud Valleys Artspace ) on 27th February – an amazing £11,788.16!!
A huge, big thank you to SVA, their lovely staff, all the artists who donated works, all the bidders who spent their cash and The Cotswold Auction Company for conducting the auction itself. We are so very grateful to you all. As the last post details, we have plenty plans on the go, and we’re always ready to respond rapidly to crisis situations as they develop (as at Idomeni), so having such funds at our disposal allows us to help more refugees, in more areas of Europe and the Middle East, in any way we can.
Speaking of which…we have recently sent a total of £2980 directly to a volunteer group with Stroud connections, currently working hard to feed and assist refugees stuck at Idomeni on the Greece/Macedonia border. There are over 12,000 refugees stuck there in horrendous conditions as the border is closed and routes north out of Greece are impeded. The team are working round the clock to provide meals and any assistance they can and we are very pleased to be able to part finance their work – an example of grassroots to grassroots support, no wages/admin/overheads, just ordinary volunteer citizens helping each other to help others.
We are also in the process of sending funds to some of the volunteer organisations on the ground in Calais/Dunkirk to help fund new communal kitchens at Dunkirk and buy items for refugees displaced by the Calais ‘Jungle’ eviction. We also paid for a load of all weather sleeping bags to be delivered straight to the Calais distribution warehouse and, this weekend, some of our team will be heading over to Calais to continue an art therapy project with the vulnerable young people (many without parents/guardians) in what remains of the main camp who are now very traumatised by the upheaval and insecurity of the heavy handed eviction by the French authorities. In addition, one of our team will be visiting the new Dunkirk camp to deliver school supplies (very kindly donated by local schools) and other items, as well as assessing the situation and current needs for future funding.
Our other areas of concern are the Greek islands and Syria and we’re making plans to send a donation to projects on Lesvos including The Hope Centre, set up to offer a “safe warm space offering dignified support for refugees arriving in Lesvos”. We’ve also recently paid for a tonne of bread flour going straight to a bread factory in Syria and are now working on sending a 40ft container of aid there too, working with local Gloucestershire groups to fill the container with food aid, with shipping costs paid by the charity, One Nation.
All of this is only possible due to the kindness, concern and generosity of local people. The recent art auction organised by SVA raised a phenomenal £10,000 plus! Other local fundraising events, pop up shop takings and regular monthly standing orders to our bank account allow us to continue this vital work, sending funds rapidly to where they’re needed, purchasing items of aid in speedy response to urgent appeals and generally moving fast! Please check our Facebook page (now public) for current news and appeals or, if you would like to be included on our mailing list please email email@example.com with subject heading ‘add to mailing list’ for monthly news round up.
Our pop up thrift shop, Rasmachaz (R.A.S. charity shop!) is now open at 47 High St, Stroud, GL5 1AN, 10am – 5pm, Mon – Sat, selling quality second-hand clothing, accessories, books, children’s clothes, shoes & toys, bric a brac and treasures galore…We will also be accepting donations for refugees (see donations page for details) and providing information on our work. Volunteers will be needed to help run the shop – please visit and add your name to the rota.
URGENT CALAIS APPEAL – WE ARE COLLECTING THE FOLLOWING EMERGENCY ITEMS WHICH WILL BE TAKEN TO CALAIS THIS FRIDAY 4TH MARCH:
– Tents – lightweight, double skinned 4 man minimum
– Sleeping bags – decent, thick and in their carry bag
– Roll mats
– Blankets – good quality, not small fleece ones
– Backpacks – small, 25 ltr only
– Foil blankets
– Socks – NEW, thick sizes 7-11ish
Also needed are EMERGENCY FOOD ITEMS:
– Tinned fish – MUST BE RINGPULL – tuna/sardines/mackerel
– 75 ml/1litre water bottle
– Bag nuts
– High protein snack bars
– Bars chocolate – small bars
– Tinned chick peas (ringpull)
These items are for refugees on the move and displaced by the violent evictions at the Calais camp.
Items can be dropped at Trainspotters, Libby’s Drive until 5pm(off Slad Road), Stroud… or at The Prince Albert pub, Rodborough, Stroud between 12pm & 10pm.
Items must be dropped off by Thursday eve (3rd March) at the Prince Albert, or by Friday (4th March) midday at Trainspotters.
RefugeeAid-Stroud are also going to be buying bulk lots of items that are needed urgently. If you can spare any more pennies then please make a payment to our bank account (or set up a standing order if you have not already done so!) :
Acc no 19336860
Sort code 30 95 96
Refugee Aid Stroud now have a central bank account through which all financial donations will flow. We will then allocate funds to the various groups on the ground dealing directly with refugees, as well as purchasing necessary items ourselves, funding volunteers and anything else we can think of to help. All of the groups and associations we will fund are known to us – some we have worked with in northern France and Greece, some we have worked with here in the UK, and others are staffed by volunteers we know personally. So, all you generous people who would like to make a financial contribution or set up a monthly standing order please see our How you can help for details. Thank you
A record seventeen Stroudies have been volunteering in Calais/Dunkirk over the past 10 days, bringing donations, funds and their useful selves. Working in the warehouses, helping with build projects, buying, prepping and cooking food, delivering aid to the Dunkirk camp (when the police and authorities allowed…), delivering a caravan, setting up art projects, distributing warm clothing & food parcels, taking part in the big clean ups, working with men, women and children in the camps…..alongside the many, many volunteers from all over Europe. All of us in solidarity with the refugees who face such uncertainty and insecurity after their long and arduous journeys.
Today there is a hearing in Lille, France to decide on the eviction order issued by the French authorities which could mean a huge part of the Jungle in Calais (including free food kitchens, schoolrooms, a library, youth centre, women & children’s centre, medical centre and more) being destroyed and thousands of people losing their homes. The charity helprefugees and other groups are appealing the decision and a judge visited the camp this morning to see things for herself before the hearing this afternoon. We are closely following the news today and hoping for a positive outcome. Please keep an eye on our Facebook page page for news.
We’re all a little tired after a busy time in France and our main priority today is focusing on the eviction news. However, we’ll be posting photos soon of the various activities of our Stroudies, upcoming fundraising events, our new bank account, new location for pop up shop (old one has closed, new one coming soon – thanks for all your support so far) and any other Refugee Aid Stroud news. Thank you all x