How we're different
Calais Light runs on the commitment, passion and drive of volunteers and as we grow we need more funding to continue this work
The essence of Calais Light is to do things quickly & simply. The “Light” in our name stands for low fuss, low chat, low paperwork & low aggro!
Our volunteers understand we’re a small charity with limited resources so we work with partner charities to provide not only volunteers but also emergency grants and donations to NGOs to meet refugees' most urgent needs on the frontline in Northern France.
We also purchase necessities for UK refugees including household items, underwear, stationary and games.
As we are entirely volunteer-run, you can be confident your donation will directly benefit refugees.
What we do differently
Calais Light supports refugees in unique ways including:
1. Convoys to Calais where we provide extra volunteers for existing NGO refugee charities there.
2. Offering emergency grants and provisions 'on the ground', based on need - and when we do arrange aid, we try to make it brand new!
3.Developing #courtcommerce - an exciting initiative working with global brands to promote social inclusion, providing brand new, age appropriate clothing and shoes
4. Providing refugee support in the UK including creating befriending hubs where we support newly arrived refugees awaiting official status in the UK
For 7 years we have had a no hoarding policy. This means that when we have any surplus, it has been gifted to our NGO partners to keep them going.
Examples of direct support include:
Purchasing bike repair items for Care4Calais when their warehouse supplies ran out.
Buying 37k teabags to support their outreach to refugees.
£1K grant to Refugee Community Kitchen supplying fresh food and ingredients.
#courtcommerce arranged for gifted toiletries donated by Unilever to be distributed by NGO Roots of Dunkirk
In the UK we partner with local Refugee Charities with our volunteers offering the manpower & resources desperately needed to deliver help to UK-based asylum-seekers & refugees and promoting Social Inclusion
Like any charity, we have our own firm & non-negotiable policies & procedures. Everyone needs to sign up to those to become a Calais Light volunteer.
On a Calais Light convoy, you’ll meet a mix of people you’ll NEVER meet in real life. Calais Light carefully sets things up so our volunteers gel brilliantly each time. We’re big on bonding – which is why we create a WhatsApp group 2 weeks prior to departure for everyone to get to know each other.
It’s why we travel by ferry – to have time to talk and get to know each other. It’s why you might find a 70 year old from Wiltshire drinking Stella & talking to three 20 year olds from Peckham at 11 pm.
We’re an ever-changing family that socialises before, during & after each trip because we care about refugees & look out for each other!
Requirements for Calais Lighters? Not much – just compassion & unselfishness!
Our central requirement is that you have a ‘heart for refugees’. You’ll kinda know who you are – you’ve been worrying quietly about refugees for ages but didn’t know how to help. You’ll recognise yourself.
We prefer types who think on their feet, are self-reliant, who realise the focus is on working hard for refugees who’ve lost everything they love & value. We’re after people who’ll share the uncertainty of not knowing, what will happen minute to minute: the same uncertainty of the refugees we support. Their lives change constantly. We stand in solidarity with them.
Please don’t be picky about the jobs you do! We want you to value every task given, even surprisingly hard ones like tent-checking, or counting hundreds of trainers into boxes – because these tasks help refugees stay alive & healthy. This is where EMPATHY matters!
Age range is 18-80 years as long as you’re fit.
* Please research the refugee crisis before volunteering with us – We want to deliver teams to our charity partners that are ready to go! NB. We don’t take refugee tourists or those who just want to “have a look”!