Blandford Care was set up as a family charity in 2015 to deliver some aid to migrants in the Calais jungle in northern France.
In 48 hours they managed to organise a full load of donations from their parish church to the jungle.
They’ve been working ever since to help refugees just in northern France, but throughout Europe and also locally. They’ve got a band of about 12 dedicated volunteers who help with things like sorting donations. If anything looks unsuitable for refugees they usually recycle it to another venue or sometimes sell it. Selling the inappropriate donations is a major source of income for Blandford Care.
After having an interview with organiser Mike Hearn, this is his statement: “Through COVID it’s been quite difficult. We’ve linked in with other groups so we’ve been able to move stuff to European camps. We go as far as Africa and we’ve got delivery destinations in Uganda and South Sudan. We’ve also helped to facilitate the move of a Syrian family who were rehoused into the local are into their second year now.
“More recently we’ve been responding to the Afghan appeal and that was a major event really given COVID and everything else because it effectively stimulated all the people with generous feelings towards refugees to go and check in their back rooms to give us aid-and not just us but everywhere, so the sheer amount of donations effectively stalled the entire aid network in the UK. So that’s something we’re helping to sort now.
“We work with Care4Calais and the refugee community kitchen. Both of which myself and my wife have worked at and that’s the major two that we support. Through COVID it’s the only way of getting aid to them, because it’s just impossible to get aid through across the channel.
“Because of obvious restrictions of COVID a lot of the centres have closed down altogether. We’re the only one in 30 miles of here that has virtually stayed working. We only had to shut down for a month as a result of being swamped with donations for the afghan aid.
“From experience I know that it is very very difficult to actually bring a family into accommodation in the UK. There are a lot of problems. It took us 18 months and we were expecting problems. The obstacles in your path are mainly to do with the benefit system and how much constitutes a fair rent. Unless you can overcome that you’ve got no chance.”
Blandford Care is urging people who doesn’t need their spare clothes to donate them as they could definitely find a good home to fit it-and that is the least that can help by getting rod of stuffs people no longer need and putting it to good use. They do have core volunteers, none of whom receive any recompensing at all but they still give their time and whatever they can to keep this movement going.