Launched initially to help funnel aid to refugees living in the Calais Jungle, this community group has since found itself responding directly to the refugee crisis.
Dinghies carrying people across the English Channel are often rescued and brought ashore by local RNLI crews. Volunteers working for Hastings Supports Refugees are typically the first to welcome them on dry land.
“We go down to the beach and offer a humanitarian response,” Jane Grimshaw, the group’s convenor, told Positive News. “We bring them fish and chips, and cups of tea.”
“The emergency services are brilliant. But they have their professional roles to play, so there’s this gap where there is no humanitarian response. We felt the need to fill that gap.”
Refugees may have been at sea for hours, or even days, so volunteers come with clean, dry clothes. “The most moving thing for us is to stand there, look them in the eye and say ‘welcome to my country’,” said Grimshaw.
Hastings Supports Refugees is part of City of Sanctuary UK, a network of communities that provide support for refugees.
Image: Jametlene Reskp
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