Charity in Focus: Hull Help for Refugees

Published: Monday 11th December 2017 by Courtney Farrow

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This week’s Charity in Focus is Hull Help for Refugees. We spoke with volunteer Gill Kennett to find out more about their work.

Great to chat with you, Gill. Could you explain who Hull Help For Refugees (HHFR) are and what you do?

We are a grassroots collective who wish to aid refugees. There is currently a humanitarian crisis – the biggest of its kind since the Second World War. With millions of people fleeing war and human rights violations in countries such as Syria, the crisis should not and cannot be ignored.

Our ethos is based on the power of the collective. We are able to help purely thanks to the goodwill and generosity of local people. We have had huge support from Hull City Council and Unison. In fact, we could not have gotten this far without those organisations.

Although the scale and sheer enormity of the crisis can often be overwhelming, we firmly believe that everyone deserves dignity, empathy, compassion and respect. When individuals work together, no matter how small the gesture, we can make a difference.

Is there anything we can do to help out?

At the moment, we’re asking for donations for Calais, especially as winter has arrived. Three of our volunteers recently visited the camps (one of whom had stayed there as a refugee but is now in England). They returned with horror stories of individuals contracting trench foot because of the wet conditions.

We are currently asking for socks, good strong boots and shoes. There is a constant need for sleeping bags and blankets too, because the police will take them on a regular basis.

On top of this, how else can people get involved with Hull Help for Refugees?

A simple yet easy one is to like our Facebook page. Here, you’ll be able to keep up to speed with the latest updates, as well as access an up-to-date list of items we are collecting, events we have planned and our achievements.

We also greatly appreciate monetary donations. We do not have any overheads, so every penny donated goes directly to the cause. If people would like to do this, please contact us on our Facebook page.

As mentioned before, we’re always looking for item donations too: tents, prams, food, pans, anything that you think could be useful. We have a pinned list on Facebook with the items we need most. Any items that we receive that are not required are distributed to local charities and organisations to ensure nothing goes to waste.

Meanwhile, we are always in need of helpers of all ages to sort donations and package them ready to be taken to Calais or Greece. We could also help you arrange a trip to the camps if you wanted to help even more.

Why is it so vital to help refugees?

It is crucial to help anyone who is in a vulnerable position. These people have lost everything through conflict, not of their own making, and have endured months, even years of travelling, abuse, victimisation, exploitation and vilification. They need to know that people care.

Many of the people now displaced were living ordinary, seemingly safe lives up until recently. Who knows what is around the corner for anyone? Whilst we have a world where these injustices can happen, we have a world that is unsafe for everyone.

We need to send a message to governments and those in power. We will not just ‘roll over’ and let people be treated in such inhuman ways.

To find out more, please visit the Hull Help For Refugees website. 

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Published: Monday 11th December 2017 by Courtney Farrow

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