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Letter from Calais - Appeal for volunteers

Phil Kerton from Seeking Sanctuary visited Calais on 30 May, taking clothing, cash and bedding donated by various groups and individuals. He found a situation that was superficially calm, yet worrying: worries that have since been confirmed as correct

Phil writes: More volunteers with jobs in education can turn up during school holidays and various busy groups of volunte...

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Calais: Things have never been so tough

image - Benny Hunter

News from those working in Calais is that things have never been so tough. The French 'welcome centres' distributed across the country may have provided a solution for some people, but for those where it didn't, conditions are worse than the Jungle ever was. There are hundreds of refugees, mostly minors, sleeping rough on the streets of Calais and Paris with no access to shelter from the elemen...

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Charities protest at government's 'reprehensible decision' on child refugees

Photo Credit: Benny Hunter

On 7th March MPs voted 287-267 to close the Dubs Amendment, and to shut the door on 2650 unaccompanied child refugees living without protection in Europe. More than 60 charities have signed an open letter protesting at the decision. They say:

This is a reprehensible decision.

The Children and Social Work Bill was proposed to have an amendment by MP Heidi Allen, which required the go...

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Calais: Catholic charity struggles to help stranded child refugees

Chlldren keep dry in plastic bags

While recent news has focussed on the UK government's decision to renege on their promise under the Dubs Amendment, to take 3,000 lone refugee children - volunteers in France are struggling to cope with hundreds of children - who've no longer even had the shelter of the 'Jungle' through this cold winter.

At the very end of January, the Calais Council registered a complaint agains...

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London talk: After the Jungle what next

Caritas Westminster and Capital Mass are hosting an event for those interested in finding out more about the situation for refugees and migrants on the coast of northern France and elsewhere after the destruction of the Calais 'Jungle' refugee camp. Come along to hear about the work of Brother Johannes Maertens at the Maria Skobtsova House in Calais, see two short films made by refugees living ...

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Seeking Sanctuary - update on Calais refugees

Image from the demolish Jungle Eritrean Church

Phil Kerton and Ben Bano from Seeking Sanctuary send this latest report on the situation in Calais.

We have both made recent trips to deliver much-needed goods collected by a number of Church Communities. A very generous donation from a church in North London enabled Ben to distribute €1,000 to Secours Catholique and to the Catholic Worker House which is doing such vital wo...

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URGENT Appeal to help refugees sleeping outdoors in France

Since the break up of the 'Jungle' at Calais, many refugees in France have no where to shelter and are being forced to sleep out in the open - while temperatures have gone well below freezing.

The charity Care4Calais has two warehouses in Calais which are acting as hubs to get various types of donation to places where they are needed, not solely to areas close to Calais and Dunkirk. This...

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Join call to 'bring 1,000 children home for Christmas'

The Calais camp has been demolished. Almost 2,000 refugee children are stuck in limbo in France, Citizens UK - which brings together faith and community and faith groups from across the country, are organising an action outside Parliament next Tuesday, 13 December from 6 to 7pm to ask the Home Secretary to bring across at least 600 of the remaining lone exiled children stuck in France to fulfil...

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Calais: A new chapter starts

I set off to drive to Dover on the last day of November to make my first visit to Calais since the destruction of the 'Jungle' camp. The temperature was permanently below zero as I headed East along the A2 and M2, with the blinding morning sun ahead of me. I had already packed goods from a variety donors into the car and met up with Ben and his son to add an even larger quantity principally col...

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Calais: Basildon parish suspends project - others to continue

Cleared 'Jungle'

Fr Dominic Howarth, Parish Priest of Holy Trinity Church, Basildon, Essex, writes:

After fourteen months, the parish Calais project is - for now - at an end. As you will have seen on the news, the Calais jungle was completely demolished three weeks ago. The refugees living there were sent to 'welcome centres' across France. The reports being received by charities indicate that t...

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Seeking Sanctuary appeals for solidarity with remaining refugees in Calais

Site of demolished  church

Ben Bano and Phil Kerton from Seeking Sanctuary writes: The story of exiles currently and recently stuck in Calais has entered a new chapter, but they are all still in need, especially the young people. Judged solely by numerical data, the exercise to remove residents and clear the 'jungle' in Calais site was a success. The aim of officials to remove the camp before November became kno...

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Is the Calais camp really closed?

Br Johannes, Marie-Christine and Fr Joe with the cross and crescent from the demolish church and mosque

Justice and Peace Visit to Calais November 3rd and 4th 2016 "Migrants have gravitated to the North French coast for the last 17 years," we were told, on our Justice and Peace visit to France on 3rd-4th November. "And we will wait just a few weeks for them to start drifting back to seek access to the UK all over again." This is the background to the highly publicised Jungle ...

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Calais Poem: This WAS our Church

'This WAS our Church'

To the Church of St Michael in the Jungle, Calais

'Our prayers have risen to the Lord Not in a glorious building But in a tent which has been an a symbol of hope To so many trapped in the jungle around us. We have been a haven of solace and peace g...

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Reflection as Calais Jungle church and mosque are cleared

Congregation of Saint Michael's Oriental Orthodox Church at last service before church is destroyed. Image: Refugee Info Bus)

And so it ends on a Friday. Or at least some things end. Specifically, a church, a school and a mosque were destroyed* today.

On this Friday, nearly 2000 years after some other Friday, Jesus has been crucified again for your sins. You were greedy, wrathful, petty. You were hypocritically sticking to rules you would find inhumane if they applied to anybody you knew. And so he had to die. ...

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