Donate to help refugees

Linsey Wynton is organising a collection for refugees in Calais

Natalie Sloan

Film-maker Natalie Sloan with donations received for refugees

As a mum I cannot imagine anything more horrendous than having to flee a war zone with my children, or not knowing where in the world my children were.

Myself and a team of local people are sending three caravans as homes for the most vulnerable refugee children in Calais as a tribute to Jo Cox, the MP who was murdered in her Yorkshire constituency.

Residents still have the opportunity to donate supplies via the Salvation Army or Waltham Forest Community Hub in Orford Road, and you can also purchase useful items from an Amazon wish list; including bedding, non-perishable foods, books, and games.

A charity called Side by Side Refugees fundraised to buy the three caravans, which will offer solid temporary homes to lone children and the most vulnerable families. The project is being backed by Walthamstow MP Stella Creasy, who was a friend of Jo and is keen to create community cohesion in the wake of the recent EU referendum result. Celebrity knitter Debbie Bliss and a team of local knitters are hand-making blankets.

The caravans have also been nicknamed ‘Wilcumstowe Wagons’ because historically Walthamstow’s name meant ‘Welcome-stow’. They will be cleaned, fixed and decorated before they leave E17.

There is such goodwill in Waltham Forest, and we hope the community will do all they can to equip these caravans as homes for some of the world’s most needy people.

Film-maker Natalie Sloan is making a documentary about the project, and according to her: “This is a great opportunity to showcase the generosity of the community.”

Natalie has been collecting donations for refugees for he past year. She added: “The Caravans for Calais project is particularly special. With a little effort, someone’s safety, comfort and wellbeing can be drastically improved.”

It’d be great if you could donate items to this project from the below list. These can be new or second-hand, if they are clean and in reasonable condition.

Caravans for Calais needs:

Single and double duvets and covers
Sleeping bags
Single and double sheets
Cooking pots
Solar-powered camping light
Washing-up liquid
First Aid kit
Fire extinguisher
Sets of six mugs, six bowls, six plates
Sets of cutlery for six
Food parcels – ring-pull tins, rice, tea, coffee, UHT milk, biscuits, olive oil, honey, salt, sugar, tinned fruit, spices, chickpeas, red lentils, passata, cereal bars
Wet wipes
Bin bags
Tea towels
Pack of Strepsils
Fairy lights and batteries
Water bottles
Awning and groundsheet
Battery pack for phone charging
Coloured pencils
Sketch pads
Learning English book
Dynamo radio
Pens and paper

Donations marked ‘Calais Caravans’ can be dropped off at the Salvation Army, 434 Forest Road, or to Waltham Forest Community Hub in Orford Road. Donations made after 2nd July will be donated either to Side by Side Refugees, Eat or Heat foodbank, or Salvation Army. Alternatively, there is an Amazon wish list for donations: