Blandford Cares, a family-run charity has spoken out about how covid-19 has affected it’s ability to help refugees.
The charity was founded in 2015 as a response to the need for aid in the Calais jungle, Northern France. They have been working ever since to help refugees throughout Europe and also locally.
Mike Hearn, founder of Blandford Cares, explained the different ways in which covid has impacted the refugee support that the charity offers.
He said: “Recently we’ve been responding to the Afghan appeal and that was a major event given covid and three lockdowns, because it effectively stimulated all the people with generous feelings towards refugees to give donations.
“It didn’t affect just us but everywhere, so the sheer amount of donations effectively stalled the entire aid network in the UK.
“We had to shut down for a month as a result of being swamped with donations for the afghan aid-although this is still a positive thing to receive so many donations.”
Mark explained that despite covid restrictions forcing a lot of refugee aid centres to shut down, Blandford Cares wasn’t one of them.
He said: “We’re the only centre within 30 miles of here anyway that has virtually stayed working throughout the whole of covid.”
Blandford Cares works together with 2 main charities, Care4Calais and the Refugee Community Kitchen. They’ve also got links to groups who are able to support afghans in transit accommodation who are now a major outlet for them.
Mark explained that, during COVID, these external groups and links were extremely important because without them there would have been no other way of getting aid across the channel.
When asked what more could be done to help Blandford Cares or aid charities in general, Mark said: If you’ve got spare accommodation you can obviously try to bring people in there because the local authorities were trying to do it but their hands are tied.”
He added: “The other thing is, if you’ve got stuff you no longer need, we can recycle virtually anything apart from duvets and pillows.
“We can take it, we can find a good home for it- and that is the very least that can happen is getting rid of some stuff you no longer need and putting it to good use. You could also regularly donate to an organisation that you trust”.