Cambridge residents who have come together to help refugees are seeking sponsorship from local businesses for an event in April that aims to raise at least £10,000.
The Cambridge Refugee Resettlement Campaign (CRRC) is supporting the City Council to find homes, goods and services for the Syrian families who have arrived to the city via the government resettlement programme.
The Cambridge Calais Refugee Action Group (CamCRAG) is arranging regular convoys of aid and volunteer support to the refugee camps in France. Through a wide network of goodwill, people across Cambridgeshire are organising regular fundraising and information sharing events as well as donating their time, skills and goods.
Now the organisations have joined forces to hold a major fundraising and awareness raising event on Friday April 15th 2016, and the Mayor of Cambridge and the City Council have kindly granted the groups the use of Cambridge Guildhall. However, they need support to meet some of the other costs involved.
They say: “We want 100% of the funds raised to go directly to helping vulnerable people in need. All contributions of time and resources put into making this event possible have been generously donated; however we need to raise an initial £2,000 to cover the core costs required by the Guildhall event management and other logistical needs.
“We would like to appeal to the Cambridge business community to support us in our fundraising objectives by sponsoring all or part of these initial costs, or to help us by providing services in-kind. With an investment of £2,000 from the business community we feel confident that we can leverage £10,000 of aid that will go directly to helping people caught up in this desperate situation.
“We have confirmed a first-rate event programme that includes eminent speakers and popular live music acts through which we feel confident we can meet our target to raise £10,000 through donations and ticket sales.
“We would greatly love for businesses in Cambridgeshire to play a leading role in maintaining Cambridge’s proud history as a city of sanctuary. We hope that we can soon count on your company to join the people of Cambridgeshire in taking action together in response to this growing humanitarian crisis.
If you can help, please email Camila Iturra on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07940 417456.
Cambridge has a strong history in welcoming refugees in times of crisis. From the kindertransport in the second world war, to refugees from Vietnam and Chile in the 1970s and 1980s; offering sanctuary to those in need of refuge is a proud Cambridge tradition.
Today that tradition stands strong. Through the movement of people who have mobilised, via social media and word of mouth, Cambridge residents have come together to form dynamic working groups who are helping refugees in a number of ways. Some travel to offer support to those arriving on the shores of Greece, others to the camps in Calais and Dunkirk.
Others put their energy into helping find foster families for the thousands of unaccompanied children arriving to the UK.
CamCRAG – Cambridge Calais Refugee Action Group
Formed in the summer of 2015, Cambridge Calais Refugee Action Group is a group of people who live in and around Cambridge working to help the refugees living in the camp in Calais, and now in Dunkirk also. Our aim is to raise awareness of the situation and to provide practical help to refugees by fundraising and organising donations of clothing and other items such as shelter, generators, educational materials and food. We are a charitable organisation. http://www.cambridgecalaisrefugeeaction.org.uk
CRRC – Cambridge Refugee Resettlement Campaign
A group of volunteers helping other organisations working within Cambridge to welcome refugees and those seeking asylum, fleeing persecution and war. We aim to positively influence public opinion on refugees, enabling the people of Cambridgeshire to volunteer their services and provisions to help those newly arrived in the area. http://www.cambridgerefugees.org
Quick facts and figures:
● 6000 people are living in the camp in Calais and 3000 in Dunkirk. 10% are women and children.
● Despite dangerous sea conditions, the United Nations refugee agency reported in November 2015 that the number of refugees and migrants arriving on Lesvos continues at an average of 3,300 people per day.
● The International Organisation for Migration reported that a survey of migrants and refugees arriving in Greece showed 90% were from Syria, Iraq or Afghanistan.
● More than half of the world’s refugees are children (51%): the highest figure in over a decade.
● 86% of the world’s refugees are hosted by developing countries.
● Britain is home to just 0.6% of the world’s refugees.
Sources: United Nations News Centre, United Nations Refugee Agency