Keep up to date with what we are doing by signing up to join CRAG. It's free and you receive our newsletters. Just click this link.
You will also find ongoing refugee news at www.facebook.com/charlburyrefugee where we post regularly updated information about the refugee situation, and how people can help. (Note that the Facebook page is accessible even if you are not signed up to Facebook, though you will get more out of it if you are. If you join Facebook, you do not have to use it for any other purposes, nor do you have to publish any personal information.)
Relevant information for local residents can be found on the District Council website.
The CRAG tea concert on February 17 raising funds for the charity Help Refugees broke all records. A mesmerising recital by the harpsichordist Alastair Ross drew an audience of over 150, and the sum raised topped £1700. Look at www.helprefugees.org/projects/ to see some of the work CRAG is supporting.
Next month's concert (here) will raise money for the Asylum Welcome hardship fund. Asylum Welcome helps resettle refugees and asylum seekers in Oxford, and the hardship fund supports the increasing number of vulnerable asylum seekers in the city, many of whom are homeless and destitute when they lose all support and accommodation on turning eighteen.
Keep up to date with what is really going on all across Europe (and the Mediterranean) with the voluntary news service 'Are You Syrious?' run from Croatia. https://medium.com/are-you-syrious
It's also on the Medium app and on the Are You Syrious? Facebook page
CRAG helps Help Refugees!
We are very conscious of the need to use the money raised through the generosity of people like yourselves to help refugees as effectively as possible.
So we support organisations which have a proven track record of providing effective aid to refugees. One of these is the charity Help Refugees.
Here they tell their story: “We help where the need is greatest. Flexible and fast in our response to the genuine needs of refugees, we fill gaps and act where big NGOs and governments don’t. We have helped over 722,500 people, managed over 25,000 volunteers and support more than 80 projects across Europe and the Middle East.”
The Guardian wrote: “Help Refugees have fed the hungry and housed the homeless, and there are people living now thanks to them who would otherwise be dead.”
For more details see their website: https://helprefugees.org/
We are still collecting suitable clothing, sleeping bags, blankets, tents, food, hygiene items and other survival essentials for refugees and asylum seekers. Most of what you donate goes to people living rough or in rudimentary camps in northern France, though we have also been able to contribute to containers going to Greece.
It is not easy to find people willing and able to drive to Calais with cars or vans full of such donations. However, we are pleased to say that we are in touch with groups based in Didcot, Stratford and High Wycombe who are doing just that, and our good friend Anne-Marie has taken several car loads of donations with her when she drives to work in Brussels.
We have members in Charlbury and nearby towns and villages who act as collection points, where you can take your donations. Some people organise collections in their schools, churches or clubs. A mention in a newsletter, or a notice on a noticeboard, might be all it takes. Might you be able to help, too?
This varies over time, so it is essential to check the current Help Refugees 'wants' list before telling people what is needed. That updated list can be found here at any given time. In general, please remember that large clothing sizes are completely inappropriate, and there is rarely any need for children's wear. There is often also an excess of women's clothing. And the need for clothing that is warm and waterproof is self-evident.
We can accept donations of things that are on the list, but unfortunately we cannot take things that are not on the list. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange delivery to us.
Donating food. When buying food from the Refugee Community Kitchen list, please make your money go as far as possible. Remember you can often buy twice as many tins of (e.g.) tomatoes or chickpeas from Lidl as you will get for the same money in the Coop or Waitrose.
All events will be announced in our newsletters and on posters, as well under the appropriate dates on www.charlbury.info/events
The proceeds from all our fundraising events go to refugee relief, usually in France or Greece where charities including Help Refugees help fund grassroots, mainly volunteer organisations operating where the international NGOs often have no access.
If you wish to make a donation yourself, with the opportunity to add Gift Aid (which increases the value of your donation by 25%), please donate using this link: www.mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/charlburyhelpsrefugees We cannot add Gift Aid to money paid for entry to an event.
Read the CRAG constitution here