One local group that has thrown an immense amount of energy into caring is Bedfordshire Friends of Refugees (FOR). With a goal of harnessing the love and goodwill of local people, they have been working to ensure that generous donations from the people of Bedfordshire are directed to support refugees where they are most needed. You will find this group once a month on Saturdays at a market stall in Bedford, matching their commitment to practical care with raising funds and awareness in the local community.
This last Saturday was no exception, when they offered a valentine theme stall delighting passers-by with handmade roses, and refugee crafts and bringing in more donations to help on their latest campaign which is to send clothing and funding to the crisis refugee situation in Paris.
The work of FOR focuses around 3-4 targeted campaigns a year, selected according to the greatest perceived needs, amongst refugees world-wide. They have sent warm clothes and bedding to Syria, women’s and young children’s clothing to camps in Dunkirk, and are expecting to contribute to a mother and baby appeal with a container going from High Wycombe to Syria at the end of February.
The idea behind FOR is to show practical care for refugees at their point of need. Whether they are in Syria, France, or anywhere else in Bedford, FOR wants to help. They are currently looking at setting up a scheme which will offer temporary accommodations to refugees who arrive in Bedford by whatever means, linking with the ‘Refugees at Home’ national charity which will help to match volunteers to asylum seekers so that they have a home from which to make an application for asylum. A further project will seek to show that foster carers are available for unaccompanied children. The group wants to “make it possible for unaccompanied children to find safety here in Bedford” says Tim Douglas, founder member.
If you are interested in showing your care through supporting the work of Friends of Refugees; have a spare bedroom which you might be able to offer to a refugee; or could join a task force to help drive one of the campaigns, then please contact:
Tim Douglas 07713252431 firstname.lastname@example.org
Or, you will find Friends of Refugees at their stall near Primark on the second Saturday of every month where they will be delighted to chat with you.
Do you have a need for more caring volunteers?
Join the #volunteertocare conversation, talk to us at CVS and let us help you to let people know how you are caring for others. All notified volunteering vacancies in caring will be promoted by us through Volunteer recruitment sessions and social media, until the end of February.