Keeping wheels turning

We’re often asked to provide grants for hidden costs like vehicle maintenance and warehouse rent - the unexciting things that are pretty hard to fundraise for. We understand well how compelling it is to donate £10 of nappies for a vulnerable baby and mum. And how the opposite can be true of donating £10 towards a £1000 monthly van hire, insurance, or worse still, tax! Hearts and minds grabbers they’re sadly not.

Yet if you ask long-term volunteers what help they need the most, they’ll say money for the big ticket items they simply can’t live without. Being able to pay their monthly bills is as important to them as it is to any household or any business. We all understand the stress of struggling to make ends meet each month. Well, imagine relying on ad-hoc donations.

The two things we really need help with are money for our monthly costs, and volunteers with at least 2-3 weeks to spare with us.” - Jasmine, Samos Volunteers

Every group we work with helps refugees in a unique way in their chosen hot-spot location. Some serve from fixed premises, whilst others are mobile. And sometimes the situation forces a change, e.g. when the Dunkirk Grande-Synthe Camp burned down in 2017, and the Women’s Centre with it, the team quickly had to go mobile. We found we were uniquely positioned to help. Their van, along with their brilliant service, is still going strong today.

For these teams, their volunteer vans and cars means:

  • feeding people who are hungry

  • clothing people who are cold

  • sheltering people who are homeless

  • giving classes in maths and society and language

  • bringing a safe, fun play time to children

  • litter-picking for everyone’s safety, health and well-being

  • and much much more.

Thanks to the regular and one-off donations we receive from our supporters, we proudly keep wheels turning and doors open. We can’t do it without you, and they often can’t do it without us.

Our van is the one thing we can’t live without. We depend on it for everything we do.” - Omar, Refugee4Refugees, Lesvos

Most recently we were asked to help Refugee4Refugees buy a new van. They’ve rented up until now with van hire on the tourist island of Lesvos fluctuating from 900€ to 1300€ every month. It’s a tough bill to keep covering from donations. Working together, and appealing to like-minded supporters, we’re delighted to have been able to raise the target amount. As I write this, we have just £275 left to raise of a £10k target. What amazing support.

Donate4Refugees provides unique funding and it means that, since we started, we’ve been able to fund two vans for BelgrAid (now Collective Aid) in The Balkans, the van for the mobile Dunkirk Women’s Centre, a van for Refugee Community Kitchen, a car for CalAid working in the Ioannina region of Greece, we recently started regularly supporting vehicle maintenance and fuel for Paris Refugee Ground Support and Mobile Refugee Support in Dunkirk (along with some brilliant partners) and now we’ve funded more than half of the Refugee4Refugees’ new van.

“Transportation is not a “glamorous” thing to donate to, but it’s such an essential part of what we do every day. We couldn't have done it without you, and I just wanted to let you know how much we appreciate it!” - Clark, Collective Aid, The Balkans

We want to keep helping wheels turn by filling in the funding gaps our inspiring volunteer groups have on the ‘hard to fund but can’t live without’ stuff. And we can do it really successfully when we are working #TogetherforHumanity. Thank you so much for your donations and support so far. Please keep donating what you can afford, when you can afford it. We’d love to hear from any companies who want to work with us. And, if you’re able, please do set-up a monthly direct debit because a regular income for us is less stress for many.

You can set up a regular payment here (scroll past photos below for active link to CAF) https://cafdonate.cafonline.org/6824

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Supporting families - The Dunkirk Women’s Centre

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Bringing toys to Moria Camp - Refugee4Refugees, Lesvos

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Feeding hungry and homeless - Collective Aid, Serbia

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Providing mobile charging & aid - Mobile Refugee Support, Dunkirk