Our local paper, Stroudlife has kindly published an open letter we wrote to thank our community for their support and generosity during the last few months. Please click on the link to see the full text, which includes a list of our achievements so far.
Both the public meeting last Thursday and the Jumble Sale on Sunday were very successful. Thanks to all who attended, helped, donated & bought loads of stuff. £751.57 was raised on Sunday and we’ll earn more from the leftover clothing at Cash4Clothes plus the local charity shops will benefit from the leftover books, toys and bric a brac, so well done everybody.
The meeting was well attended and it was lovely to see a lot of familiar faces all together in one place for a change! We discussed the achievements so far, our plans for the future, new storage, pop up shop, fundraising ideas, current appeals, the next trips to Calais, the possible involvement of local schools and the creation of a mailing list for members – if you would like to be included on the list, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with subject heading ‘add to mailing list’.
We have now moved out of the warehouse and have a new storage unit – much smaller but big enough to store items for trips to Calais. Please contact for drop off or collection, although be aware that collection is usually only possible from the Stroud District area, depending on the type and volume of items. If you are further afield, please arrange to drop off if you can or perhaps donate to a group closer to home if that’s possible. We are still collecting the following:
WALKING BOOTS – in good condition, adult sizes 4 through to 11, laces tied together and with a pair of NEW OR GOOD AS NEW socks tucked in them.
SLEEPING BAGS – the warmer the better, zip must work.
BLANKETS – the bigger and thicker the better
QUILTS – clean and in good condition
ROLL MATS TENTS – 2-4 man, must be double skinned and complete in good condition.
FIREWOOD – sawn, chopped and bagged.
FOOD – CATERING SIZE OR SMALL of: rice – basmati/long grain;
tins – tomatoes/kidney beans/lentils/chick peas/tomato puree/fish – tuna/sardines;
oil (veg, coconut, olive, rapeseed);
seeds and nuts etc – pumpkin, sunflower, all nuts, dates, apricots;
tea, coffee and sugar, long life milk;
spices – paprika, turmeric, cinnamon, star anise, nutmeg, cumin, caraway, cloves, salt, pepper. sack potatoes, onions, garlic, carrots, any other veg that keeps
Two important events this week: Public meeting at Stroud Sub Rooms on Thursday evening 28th & Jumble Sale on Sunday 31st at Rodborough pavilion ( see events page for details). Please attend if you can.
Also, we are appealing for caravans to take to Calais where the marvellous Caravans4Calais team prepare & allocate them to refugee families. Do you have a caravan that you don’t use anymore, or don’t want anymore? It must be in fair condition, but doesn’t have to be perfect. However, it must be dry as it will be a home for a family with children. We are willing to pay if you cannot afford to give it away – up to £200. Please email us with any offers, thank you.
We are also appealing for any leads on a new location for the pop up shop. The current location needs to be vacated very soon and, although there may be an option to return, we would love to find a new premises to move into immediately. Preferably town centre or close to, we can offer a small or nominal rent and our love and care! Please ask around and let us know if you find any leads….
In warehouse news, we have now delivered/sent off all remaining donations and are now clearing and preparing the warehouse for handing back to Stroud District Council. It has been approximately 10 weeks since SDC kindly offered us the space and, with the co-operation and hard work of our Stroudie volunteers, it has allowed us all to achieve more than we ever thought we could. Yesterday the last 60 boxes were loaded onto a DHL lorry on their way to the Greek Island of Chios (see below), and now all that’s left in the warehouse is the jumble pile which, fingers crossed, will fly off the tables at Sunday’s jumble sale……..
On Friday 22nd Jan we filled this van at the warehouse , with boxes of warm jumpers and coats, some food and some firewood. This was all taken to Care4Calais warehouse in Calais that evening, to be distributed over the weekend.
We also loaded this van (and a car) with aid and on Sunday 24th we drove it down to Bristol and unloaded it at the house of one amazing woman, Shazia Malik, who has organised a container of aid to be delivered to refugee camps in Syria.
As well as around 60 boxes of warm clothing, blankets and boots. Aside from 3 pallets of aid leaving for Chios tomorrow (25th), this was the last of the collected aid from our Stroud warehouse, and we were over the moon to be able to send it out to the people in Syria. The container will be leaving Bristol later this week. Big up Bristol2Syria and One Nation who have made this possible!
URGENT FOOD DROP – AID FOR SYRIA – PLEASE HELP THE STARVING PEOPLE OF SYRIA BY DONATING ONE OR MORE ITEMS OF FOOD.
This is an urgent last minute appeal for a food collection that will be sent to Syria, along with all the clothing aid that is left in the warehouse, via container from Bristol. We’ve all seen pictures on the news in the last week of the people eating grass and cats, and at last we have a chance to get aid in there to them as we have secured space in this container. Please buy one, two, or a few things of the following list and either bring them to the warehouse on Wednesday 20th (12 til 4) or Friday 22nd (12til 4), or take them to the Pop Up Shop on Middle St, Stroud, Wednesday,Thursday, Friday or Saturday(20, 21, 22, 23rd) Or you can leave donations at The Prince Albert pub at Rodborough, Stroud Wed,Thurs, Fri, or Sat (20, 21, 22, 23rd).
– basmati rice
– tins/tetra packs/soft packs of kidney beans/chick peas/lentils
– tins tomatoes
– tomato puree
– tins tuna
– vegetable oil
– chapatti flour
– big bags peanuts
– cashew nuts/other nuts
– pitta breads (long use by date)
– instant porridge (ready brek)
– instant soups
– tea bags
Please give whatever you can and ask others to do so too…if you’re doing your shopping just stick a bag of rice in for Syria.. easy! If 1000 of us do that then that’s a lot of rice! It is short notice but I am sure we can still get a great amount of food together to send with love from Stroud.
We will be driving all the aid down from the warehouse on Sunday morning (24th), so absolutely need to receive it by Saturday afternoon. Please email email@example.com for address of warehouse if you do not have it.
THANKS FOR YOUR GENEROSITY
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…”
Great news – the fundraising pop up shop is to re-open! See quote below:
“The Pop Up Shop is staying OPEN !! Re-launch is on Friday. The wonderful Jed is going to be managing it. Please please bring any proper lush donations to the shop ! Please only bring : eye catching , groovy , not tatty, not broken, retro, chic, funky, TREASURES to us.
As the weather is getting colder aid is really needed to save lives of people just like you and me!
Your support of the shop is very much appreciated – please continue to be your big hearted Stroudie selves and support the refugees !”
The shop will no longer be accepting clothing donations for refugees but you can donate tents (complete)/sleeping bags (working zips)/blankets & walking boots until Friday 15th January. Thanks, Stroudies x
Our Stroudies have been at large again in Calais and the Greek Island of Lesvos over the holidays. Here’s a few of their photos so you can see their work and also the conditions our fellow human beings are suffering as they seek safety and the chance for a better life…
HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!!! Just a quick note to say that the warehouse will be open every weekday from 10 til 4 this week. If you have a few hours spare any day please do come and lend a hand… To clarify again about our position
– We have the warehouse until the end of January
– We are not taking clothes donations after this Wednesday 6th January
– We will continue to accept sleeping bags, boots, blankets up until January 15th.
– Our aim is to get all the aid we have sent out to somewhere useful, and then clear the warehouse out.
– Informal new year gathering at The Prince Albert this Thursday 7th January 6.30pm – all welcome.
Hope everyone’s had a good break
The warehouse is now closed until Monday 4th January. Once open again we will only be accepting clothing donations up to Wednesday January 6th. It is very, very important that ONLY clothing on the list (see donations page) is brought to the warehouse. Our jumble mountain of unsuitable clothing and shoes has grown again and we don’t want to make it any bigger….If you are collecting from a group of people, please emphasise to them how time-consuming and frustrating it is sorting donations and having to reject many due to unsuitability.
We will still accept sleeping bags, blankets, tents, boots up until Friday January 15th as there is a trip to Calais that weekend. After 15th January we will accept no more donations. These deadlines are because we are moving out of the warehouse by the 23rd January. Stroud District Council very kindly let us use the warehouse free of charge up to Xmas, but we now have to pay business rates and have decided that the money is better spent directly on refugees and so we’ll be focusing on: fundraising, providing volunteers, directing funds and aid to groups on the ground, collecting specific items for specific locations and anything else we can think of that helps our fellow, suffering humans in any way we can…….
So, meanwhile, three vans are packed and heading to Calais in the days before Xmas. They are mostly taking food (see below) for the kitchens and individual groups and families, plus firewood, sleeping bags, blankets, tents, toys for children and, of course, their very useful and hardworking volunteers.
There’s also 78 full boxes so far with many, many more to be packed and sealed and shipped out to Greece after the new year. Well done Stroud – you really are rather special x