On 24 October it will be 1 year since the Calais jungle camp was demolished.
Despite this, in Calais, there are still 750 refugees sleeping rough in the woods and on asphalt sites.
Earlier this month Bishop Richard visited a number of projects in Calais as a guest of Safe Passage UK. Amongst the refugees are many unaccompanied minors who have the right to come to the UK under the Dublin 3 treaty because of a family link. Unfortunately, because it is legal, it doesn’t mean it is easy. Cases can take up to 6 months to process and investigate since many have no papers. There simply aren’t enough people available to work on this complex task.
Meanwhile, refugees try to get on lorries to cross the channel illegally and dangerously.
There are some immediate needs that could be met by our generosity in the diocese. For example supplies of blankets, small jackets, shoes, socks, and pants are running very low and regular distributions have had to stop. Items that people need the most have all but run out So if you can hold a collection of these items at work, school, uni or with friends, please email firstname.lastname@example.org Safe Passage, who is working on the legal entry of minors are working with the Help Refugees Team to meet these needs. You can see more about their work here
Bishop Richard said, “It was sobering to see the dreadful conditions that the refugees are still having to endure, at the end of horrific journeys to safety where many of their friends were killed. Despite all this, they said it was better to be here than where they had escaped from. I hope we as a diocese will be generous and not forget those in such desperate need.”
Henry Smith MP for Crawley, West Sussex was also in attendance on the trip.