RESIDENTS shocked by harrowing images depicting the scale of the refugee crisis have rallied together to help the cause.
Hundreds of people from across the Herald and Gazette area have been busy gathering donations, lobbying MPs and setting up databases of those willing to help.
Social media has been a major driver, with support pages being flooded with offers of help.
Tarring mum Terri Shanks is one of several volunteers planning trips to ‘The Jungle’ refugee camp in Calais.
She is using her empty industrial unit in Courtwick Lane, Littlehampton, for storage and has been inundated with donations.
She said: “The generosity of the people of Worthing and beyond has truly been overwhelming.
“The amount of supplies donated was far beyond expectations and not just secondhand goods but lots of people have donated brand new tents, sleeping bags, clothing and medical equipment.”
Terri plans two trips to Calais as the amount of donations has been so high. Her first journey will take place in October, after Luke Brice, of Clean Cut Gardening, offered her use of his transit van.
She will make another trip with her daughter, Georgia, in November.
Bright Little Buttons Nursery, in Broadwater, and Sir Robert Woodard Academy, in Lancing, have also offered to make up shoe box supplies for individual distribution, which she will also take to Calais.
Elsewhere, Worthing resident Dan Thompson has been co-ordinating efforts on the ‘Worthing Refugee Aid’ Facebook page.
Through the page, he has helped bring together people like Terri with those willing to help.
He said: “The group came from a discussion that a few of us in Worthing People’s Assembly had whilst leafleting a little over a month ago. We had seen the suffering of our fellow human beings fleeing war and destruction as well as their demonisation in certain areas of the national media.
“Deciding that we should do something to help, I had researched people heading over to Calais and links we could make with these organisations, storing items in Worthing before taking it to them to be taken across.
“The Facebook group was set up as a way of bringing those who wanted to donate together with those who were collecting.”
Alison Philips, who started the Sussex Refugee Solidarity page, set up a planning and letter writing meeting for members to write to their MPs about the crisis.
A database she set up has seen dozens of residents offer their help or professional skills, while members also attended a march in Brighton to show their support.
Speaking about the Government’s pledge to accept 20,000 refugees over the next five years, she said: “We think that 20,000 over five years is a good first step but this represents only a very small number of refugees and we believe that in the very British tradition of providing a safe harbour for those fleeing persecution, we can and should do more.
“We are also concerned that this figure does not include any of those who have already made it to Europe, and hope that the government will reconsider this.”
Terri has set up a fundraising page to help with transportation and the purchase of additional supplies.
Visit www.gofundme.com/terrishanks for more information.
Lancing residents can drop off donations to Sudz, in North Road, Lancing, and Adur Voluntary Action, in Cokeham Road.
St Marys Gate Inn, in Arundel, transported donations they had stored over to Brighton on September 12.