Help for Refugees
Local residents may be interested to know that the Charlbury Debating Society convened on Thursday evening in the Memorial Hall with around 90 participants to discuss how the town might respond to the current refugee crisis.
The event, filmed by Sky News and chaired by Jonathan Luxmoore and Liz Leffman, was addressed by Andy Graham on behalf of his newly formed Children of Calais charity, as well as by Hannah and Andy Bailey from the Witney-based Crying out for Calais, and by Heather McCullock, refugee co-ordinator with the West Oxfordshire District Council. Several local groups, including Churches Together in Charlbury, the UN Association and Peace in a Pub, also sent representatives.
Numerous offers of help and accommodation for refugees were received by people from Charlbury and surrounding villages. Among many ideas, it was suggested that foreign currency should be collected for refugees, and the government lobbied to support calls for a European Union quota system and to lift the sanctions currently facing train companies and airlines which bring refugees into the country without visas.
A Charlbury Refugee Action Group (CRAG) has now been formed -- see www.charlbury.info/community/88 -- which will draft an open letter to David Cameron MP explaining the readiness of members of the local community to lend shelter and support. This will be available for signing during the Charlbury Street Fair on 19th September. A similar letter may also be sent to MEPs. This is an initiative by like-minded residents, who are sympathetic to refugees but do not claim to represent the town as a whole.