Lib Dems take action to help refugees

actiondayIt’s that time of the year when you first notice that your breath becomes visible in the cold air and you feel the need for that extra layer. Unfortunately refugees living in the camps across Europe have also noticed their breath in the cold air but may not have the extra layers that they need.

As Lib Dems, I think it is fair to say, we have been appalled by the government’s (lack of) response to the current refugee crisis. We have been appalled that the government has turned its back on those in desperate need and has offered the bare minimum in taking refugees.

But we can do more than criticise the government. We can help. We at Camden Liberal Democrats have held our first ever Help Refugees Action Day. This is where we set up a street stall and knock on doors to talk to residents and ask if they have any items (clothes, food, blankets) they would like to donate.

The response has been overwhelming. The attitude of the government is in sharp contrast to the generosity of the people. We collected a vanload of essential supplies in one day, which we then took to a collection point to be sent to the camps across Europe.

The day was such a success that I warmly encourage any Lib Dem to hold such a day of action it in their local community and help in the effort to aid those who need it most. Since our action day Anton Giorgiou who volunteered on the day is now organising a similar day with his local party in Brent. It would be fantastic to see more Lib Dems taking a stand and getting involved in this movement.

If you are considering holding such an action day, it is very important to refer to the essential items list on this website and print off the list to give to residents to ensure that the donations are exactly what is needed. And do find a local collection point in your area, contact them to make sure they are still taking donations. You will most likely have to hire a van or use a large car to transport the items.  (It is not advisable to take the donations direct to Calais to distribute yourself.  This can be counter-productive and hinder the efforts of the local charities who are working there.)

It is a simple idea that if someone is in need of help, and you can help them at little cost to yourself then you morally ought to do it. Holding such an action day  is a simple way of helping people more than you would be able to on your own.  The refugee crisis may be slipping down the news agenda, but as winter approaches conditions can and do become more dangerous in the camps and it is perhaps even more urgent to help. That extra layer in the cold air is very much needed.

* Bradley is an active member of the Lib Dems as a council member for both the SLF and LD4SOS, standing for local elections in 2014 and 2016 and as borough organiser for Camden in 2016. He also has a leading role in the Lib Dem campaign to raise donations for refugees and lobbying the government to settle more refugees. He is currently studying for his PhD in moral and political philosophy specialising in the philosophy of migration, borders and refugees.

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6 Comments

  • Barrie Jervis 26th Oct '15 - 7:55pm

    I couldn’t disagree more. The Conservative policy is very well considered and balanced. You take too much upon yourself to claim you represent all Liberal Democrats.

  • Richard Underhill 26th Oct '15 - 8:50pm

    Barrie Jervis 26th Oct ’15 – 7:55pm Did you see Tim Farron’s speech at Bournemeouth conference? Did you see the policy motion that was carried there? Which of these two parties do you prefer yourself?

  • Barrie Jarvis. I think it is fair to say that the majority of Lib Dems believe the government response has been inadequate. Taking 4000 per year in comparison to other countries who have taken hundreds of thousands, if not over a million, hardly seems adequate. However I will concede the point. Even if i grant you the controversial premise that the conservative policy is well considered and balanced, this is not an argument against organising in your community to collect aid for those refugees who need it. Therefore my arguments still stand.

  • Eddie Sammon 27th Oct '15 - 6:21am

    This is fantastic. It is the kind of thing that should be done when you don’t agree with the electorate/government.

  • Are you collecting aid for the very many homeless in the UK? They include many migrants. Are you offering your spare rooms? Or is that not ‘sexy’ enough?

  • Yes i volunteer at my local foodbank on a weekly basis and make donations to homelessness charities every month

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