Baroness Shas Sheehan writes…Europe’s humanitarian crisis and how you can help

Tim Farron has been superb on the issue of the humanitarian crisis in Europe. He was the first Leader of any party to visit the camp in Calais; in Lesvos he witnessed the desperation and fear of those fleeing Assad; for many months he has been calling for 3000 unaccompanied children in Europe to be brought to the UK.

Whilst lawyers and parliamentarians challenge the Government to implement the safe and legal routes into the UK, thousands upon thousands of people on the run from brutal regimes are suffering the most appalling conditions.

Humanitarian aid is needed.

What you can do to help

Many Liberal Democrats have been asking what they can sensibly do to help. So here are some suggestions:

A delivery to Dunkirk will take place on Sunday 7 February 2016.

A carefully compiled list, with input from organisations on the ground, has been put together – see below. A couple of collection points in London have been organised. Please feel free to organise a collection for your own local party (and do involve the wider public too) and arrange delivery to one of the collection sites.

If you are outside London then you will be able to buy items online, and ask for delivery to be made to the address in Putney below.

These items are top of our list of essential needs and will be much appreciated.

Essential items for Dunkirk (Please note: only these will be accepted):

Sleeping bags/thick blankets (to buy online, see below)
Roll mats (to buy online, see below)
Camp beds (to buy online, see below)
Camping stoves/gas/cooking utensils (to buy online, see below)
Warm jackets/coats (Preferably wind/waterproof or ski jackets)
Warm trousers, preferably waterproof but not essential
Leggings
Sturdy boots/walking boots
Underwear/socks (New)
Baby wipes
Razors
Black bin liners (strong ones)
Batteries AA/AAA
Wind up torches/lanterns (to buy online, see below)
Food parcels including the following:
Oil
Tinned tuna, chickpeas, tomatoes, lentils, beans and fruit (preferably pull-ring tins)
Rice
spices – ground ginger, garlic, turmeric, chilli
Tea, sugar, salt

NB: Only the items of clothing mentioned above will be accepted. All clothes must be bagged and clearly labelled to indicate gender/size/item. If you are donating sleeping bags you have at home please try to pack them up as small as possible.

Collection points and dates:

Camden local party. Address is 242 Webheath Community Workshops, Netherwood Street, London, NW6 2JX.
Contact is Bradley Hillier-Smith: [email protected], 07832 972270
Opening hours: Thu 4 Feb 4pm-7pm. Fri 5 Feb 10am-7pm. Sat 6 Feb 10am-7pm

Putney Drop-off point: 4 Ravenna Road, London SW15 6AW. Parking available in driveway.
Contact is Sam Finniear: [email protected], 07432 870198, 07810 108983
Opening hours: Thu 4 Feb 10am-7pm. Fri 5 Feb 10am-7pm. Sat 10am-7pm. If  no-one is in please leave items in the covered garage with a note to say who it is from, otherwise please knock on basement door.

Here are the online items:

Please ask for them to be delivered directly to:
4 Ravenna Road, Putney, London SW15 6AW.
You can ask them to leave things in the porch if no-one is at home.
Sleeping bag – Sports Direct (£19.00)
Camping gas stove – Amazon (£8.49)
Gas cartridges – Purely Outdoors (£13.18)
Tents – Argos (£24.99)
·  Halfords (£50.00)
·  4 man, tunnel design, pitched size: 420 x 210 x 140cm
·  [BEST OPTION] Decathlon (£64.99)
·  4 man, wind and rain resistant, double layered, includes living/storage area, pitched size: 240 x 210 cm (bedroom) and 175 x 260cm (living area).
Roll mats – Sports Direct (£3.50):
Wind-up Torch/lantern (£7.95)
Camping bed – Blacks. Raised from ground to prevent clothes becoming wet (£15.00)

Please give whatever you can to help people living in such desperate conditions – and thank you for donating to the Lib Dem humanitarian effort.

* Shas Sheehan is a Liberal Democrat member of the House of Lords.

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15 Comments

  • I’d like to donate some safe, warm, and dry, steel containers, kitted out with beds and blankets.
    Can you give me a delivery address?

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 31st Jan '16 - 1:26pm

    Please everyone just stick to the items on Shas’s list. They know what they have room to take and know what is needed so don’t go outside that.

  • This is very motivating stuff , literally , from a terrific member of our Lords team , I do think we should value their involvement more !

  • Caron is right, Indigo. The French police are often obstructive, and steel containers won’t be allowed through. The item on the list are needed and will, we think, get through.

  • Tomas Howard-Jones 31st Jan '16 - 11:40pm

    Poor Shas….clearly completely clueless and adrift from Foreign Policy matters.
    The refugees arriving in Lesbos were fleeing from Erdogan’s Turkey, not Assad’s Syria. And they are fleeing from the rebel-held areas from ISIS, Al-Quaeda and some of Turkey’s other islamist friends.

    Refugees are fleeing from Civil war- poor Shas probably seems all rather bamboozled by reading the Times & Guardian & doesn’t understand that the largest number of Syrian refugees have fled INTO Assad’s govt-held areas- more than Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan or Europe.

    But well done anyway for calling for these supplies to help those camping in the very unpleasant conditions of Northern France.

  • Tomas Howard Jones , you are being very , to put it mildly , patronising to Baroness Sheehan, who as a shorthand merely refers to Assad re Syria and fleeing refugees , then you presume you know her thinking .I , as a Liberal ,have more respect for a person s individual ability to think for themselves , and to express it ,and for the presumption of seeing the best in people until I know otherwise . Baroness Sheehan seems from everything I see of her work , to be a very able , and I am sure , aware , parliamentarian. I am sure she is also able to decide for her own self , what newspapers to read , even without your help !!!

  • Tomas Howard-Jones – what patronising condescending comments. High horse and falling off comes to mind!!

    I hope Baroness Sheehan’s idea is well suppoerted. Timeline (4 – 6 Feb) is however probably rather tight for deliveries ordered on-line. If the Dunkirk run on 7 Feb is successful perhaps another one could be organised for later in the month or early March.

  • I’m with Tomas Howard-Jones 31st Jan ’16 – 11:40pm on this….Trying to excuse “in Lesvos he witnessed the desperation and fear of those fleeing Assad” as ‘shorthand’ is tenuous…….She doesn’t mention Syria; she just appears to blame one person/side….

    As for “then you presume you know her thinking”…I can only comment on what she has written….Perhaps she might explain why she used that phrase?

    BTW…I also agree with Tomas Howard-Jones on his “But well done anyway for calling for these supplies to help those camping in the very unpleasant conditions of Northern France.”

  • Did no one get the irony in Indigo”s comment? He is referring to the fact that the migrants are refusing to move into the ones provided. Correct me if I am wrong Indigo.

  • Eddie Sammon 1st Feb '16 - 10:44am

    Let’s have a higher quality debate than people saying other Lib Dems are completely clueless. She is only trying to provide practical help. A good thing surely.

  • Pat and Eddie , my point exactly , too , well done ! Tomas and expats , obviously as the bulk of the refugee population of Lesvos are Syrians , and as Assad is president of the state of Syria , directly or indirectly many of the suffering in Lesvos who Tim Farron met were fleeing from Assad ! Holmes called it the science of deduction , Liberals call it evidence based, philosophy , either way it more or less adds up to the same thing. Therefore my previous defence of Baronness Sheehans phraseology ,with allowing it as “shorthand .” Or are Tom and expats really of the opinion no one Tim spoke with was fleeing Assad ?!

  • @ Anne
    Yes Anne, you are correct.

  • Lorenzo 1st Feb ’16 – 1:55pm……………….Pat and Eddie , my point exactly , too , well done ! Tomas and expats , obviously as the bulk of the refugee population of Lesvos are Syrians , and as Assad is president of the state of Syria , directly or indirectly many of the suffering in Lesvos who Tim Farron met were fleeing from Assad ! Holmes called it the science of deduction , Liberals call it evidence based, philosophy , either way it more or less adds up to the same thing. Therefore my previous defence of Baronness Sheehans phraseology ,with allowing it as “shorthand .” Or are Tom and expats really of the opinion no one Tim spoke with was fleeing Assad ?!……………

    Well that is convoluted thinking….The “Mushrooms are Fungi” argument in a nutshell…
    As ‘Tom’ pointed out, many refugees are fleeing TO Assad controlled areas.
    No-one is claiming that there are NO refugees from Assad although the post implies that Tim ONLY “witnessed the desperation and fear of those fleeing Assad”….

    Jane Dodds in her “A visit to Calais” doesn’t leave the same impression…

  • Expats mushrooms are fungi ,that is correct .

  • Thank you to all those who have already made purchases online – sleeping bags have been popular. Please include gas canisters for the stoves, which are particularly needed at the moment. Do put your name on the delivery details, so I know who to thank!

    As people have correctly identified, this is purely a humanitarian effort. The politics of the issue should not obscure the fact that whether flight is from Daesh, Assad, Afghanistan or multiple conflicts in N Africa, these people flee because they fear what they are leaving behind more than the horrific conditions they know they will encounter in Europe.
    A choice between the devil and the deep blue sea – quite literally.

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