First Quarter Report from Blandford CARES - March 2019
We try not to spend our sparse resources on advertising. In some ways this is because although
we are a small group we have over 260 followers on our Face Book pages and around 116 on our
mailing list. Having said this we also have quite a number of supporters who do not directly
feature on either of these social media yet form an important part of our core support.
Realistically, the word of mouth publicity had brought a regular stream of donations and enough
financial support to keep us fully stretched.
As the only official drop-off point for Care4Calais and HelpRefugees in North Dorset we receive
donations from individuals and organisations from an area of at least 30 miles around Blandford.
Of particular interest to us are the schools around Blandford and in Dorchester who have
supported us year-on-year and ask us to do presentations. It is so encouraging to see the levels
of awareness demonstrated by the children and to see this evidence of support by their families.
In July 2018 we produced a trifold leaflet which included a list of our activities in the first half of
2018 - this February we decided to reprint it, unchanged, because apart from a date or two its
message is as valid today as it was then.
Moreover, if we had thought what we had done in 2018 was a success, then what we have been
able to do this year is set to eclipse it !
So far this year to mid-March Blandford CARES has:
• Given a Presentation to St Nicholas School in Child Okeford and received no less than TWO
van loads of donations in return, as well as letters written to refugees by the children.
• Given a talk to the Safe Haven group in Wimborne who are about to house and support a
Syrian Family there.
• Received four van loads of donations from Gillingham, two from Doraid in Dorchester, One
from an alliance of Salisbury Parishes and one from the Christadelphian church in
Bournmouth. All this in addition to donations left in the collection point in the Blandford Forum
Parish Church (The Church In the Market Place).
• Raised over £250 through sales of quality/branded donations over the Internet.
• Added our support to the “Safe Passage” project helping to obtain a unanimous commitment
by Dorset County Council to obtain approval for the new Unitary Authority to accept 10
vulnerable “DUBS” children each year for ten years. Just as the country did in 1939
• Supported some of our own local homeless with bedding and kitchen equipment via contacts
referred to us by Blandford Food Bank and elsewhere.
Our supporters - all 200-300 of you, will have enabled us to:
• Sort and box all of the above - we usually have between 6-8 helpers every Tuesday
• Send 42 boxes of Aid to Samos in Greece - funded by your excellent response to the
“Sponsor a box appeal” in January.
• Send a further 30-60 boxes to the Greek camps via “Help and Aid Direct” (planned for mid-
• Send a sizeable consignment to Calais with a volunteer aiming to work in the warehouse there
for a fortnight. (also planned for mid-March) .
• Provide at least £300 of new underwear for distribution in Calais.
• Donate no less than £500 to the Refugee Community Kitchen in Calais who still provide
1500-2000 meals a day.
None of this could be done without the on-going support we receive from you all and the
continued use of collection facilities and sorting rooms provided by the United Reformed Church
and Blandford Parish Church - Our official drop off point for donations open every weekday
So What next?
People often ask “What do you need” and the basic answer is EVERYTHING! We focus first and
foremost on the needs of refugees in Northern France. They are mostly young men, mostly
slightly built, mostly on the move, so we ask for small and medium, dark coloured practical
clothing, trainers and walking boots up to size 9, men’s toiletries, rucksacks, pop-up tents,
sleeping bags, blankets and roll mats. In the Calais warehouses there is already enough to cover
for women and children’s needs.
In Greece, both on the islands and on the mainland, our friends do not suffer so much from being
“moved on” by the police. There is a much larger percentage of women and children, often
housed in terribly overcrowded camps but sometimes able to access the “aid with dignity” offered
by our colleagues from Help Refugees and Refugee Support Europe. Much of our women’s and
children’s clothing, together with the men’s stuff not suitable for the Calais brief and family sized
tents, will end up in Greece, courtesy of the wonderful Hope and Aid Direct group taking a
minimum of two convoys out to Athens every year.
In Syria, hospitals have been destroyed,
camps are huge and overcrowded. In-date
medications, mobility aids, clothing for adults,
children and babies are all always needed. As
they are nearly everywhere.
We attach three current lists in pdf format
which we ask you to copy and share with
anyone you feel could be interested in this
We can send you our leaflets - just ask and
help spread awareness of what we do and
why we exist.
If you have stuff you can not sell that is
potentially useful to a refugee - why not
donate it to us.
Help us put more of these labels on boxes of Aid like
these stacked in our sorting room ready to go out
within the next 10 days.
Every box helps to make their abject existence just a
Even if just for one day.
Let them know someone cares.
Thank You all for your support