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Guildford Initiative to Help Calais Refugees Receives ‘Fantastic Response’

Published on: 5 Sep, 2015
Updated on: 6 Sep, 2015
Refugees in Calais - photo from CalAid

Refugees in Calais – photo from CalAid

A Guildford initiative to help refugees in Calais has taken off in the wake of the recent refugee crisis across Europe.

Christina with one of the families that brought in a donation of items to help the refugees in Calais.

Organiser Christina Manning with one of the many families that brought in a donation of items to help the refugees in Calais.

“Born and bred” Guildfordian, Christina Manning who lives in Stoke Fields, said she delighted with the “fantastic response”. Cars were seen to be queueing up this morning (September 5) to drop off items that it is hoped will help the refugees.

The collection was based at Shaftesbury Hall, Artillery Terrace made available by St Saviour’s Scouts. Guildford Borough Council has also helped by making available some free storage for the collected goods.

Christina was motivated to do something after she spent a weekend with the refugees in Calais as a volunteer.

She said: “The refugees are not evil people coming here to steal our jobs. They are desperate people asking us for help, people to people. One of the woman I met was two months pregnant.”

“I put up a Facebook page comment and it has all taken off from there. We are hoping to organise further collection days here in Guildford and more announcements will follow.

The hall starts to fill with donations at 10am...

The hall starts to fill with donations at 10.30am… 3pm the the donations had piled up.

…by the end of the day the walls of the hall had disappeared behind piled up boxes.

Once collected, all the articles which include cans of food, clothes, blankets and tents will be taken to a warehouse in London run by CalAid which is described on its website as: “…a group of volunteers collecting urgently needed donations for those living in the Calais refugee camps.”

The donations will be stored and issued to volunteers in Calais on an as required basis.

Paula Fuentes, left and Cllr Caroline Reeves right help to sort out the donations brought to the hall.

From left to right: Paula Fuentes, Katie Mayne and Cllr Caroline Reeves help to sort out the donations brought to the hall.

Cllr Caroline Reeves (Lib Dem, Friary & St Nicolas) who lives near Shaftesbury Hall said: “Such has been the overwhelming generosity from those wishing to help that the London warehouse will be soon be full. The organisers have had to organise more storage locally at short notice.”

One of the helpers at Shaftesbury Hall this morning could identify from first hand experience with the plight of those in Calais.

Paula Fuentes from Stoughton, a Chilean who went to Canada as a refugee and has since come to England, said: “I have always worked with groups such as Amnesty. I feel that as human beings we have a need to help each other. Of course, my own experience helps me relate to the refugees in Calais.”

Those wishing to help by donating further items should await further announcements at Those wishing to make monetary contributions should visit



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Responses to Guildford Initiative to Help Calais Refugees Receives ‘Fantastic Response’

  1. Caroline Reeves Reply

    September 7, 2015 at 10:06 pm

    The last of the donated goods have gone into storage today ready for the next delivery in a couple of weeks. I’m pleased to say some of the items that we couldn’t get to London for distribution have been taken to our own Guildford charity, Guildford Action which supports the homeless and disadvantaged.

    Caroline Reeves is the Lib Dem borough councillor for Friary & St Nicolas ward.

  2. Tina Williams Reply

    January 11, 2016 at 2:55 pm

    I was asked to bring donations of clothes and blankets to Guildford on January 23rd, but I can’t find the email and don’t know where to go to or at what time on the 23rd.

    [Ed: It’s at Guildford Borough Council depot from 11am to 3pm. Details at:

  3. Ted Le Riche Reply

    January 30, 2016 at 2:12 pm

    I have brand new sweat shirts small medium and large, plus shoes and other secondhand men’s clothes.

    Should I just take them to St George’s Church in Ashtead, which is my nearest CofE church?

    [Ed: I suggest you contact ther church you mention and ask them for their advice. They may be taking clothes or can advice you on a collection point near you.]

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