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Refugee crisis gets helping hand from Bristol alumna

Samantha with some of the many donations she's received so far

Samantha and her team of helpers

5 November 2015

Samantha Chitty (BA 2008), a film producer based in London, is driving to Calais with her siblings on Monday 9 November to deliver much-needed supplies to the refugees currently camping there.

They will be delivering donations of the camping gear, food and warm clothing necessary for survival, along with toys for children and bicycles to help refugees make their way into the town centre for showers at swimming baths and the purchase of food.

'We realised that a lot of people have clothes, camping supplies, bikes, toys, and bedding that they don’t need, and we thought we'd take advantage of that,' says Samantha.

They have also found a tree surgery which has agreed to donate some firewood – vital for heat and fuel for the cold winter ahead.

'The camp is relying on people like you and me,' Samantha says. 'You can donate to large charities directly, but they also need volunteers to help build, clear rubbish, distribute donations, and cook and serve hot food.

While no stranger to volunteer work, having been a volunteer with the Bristol Youth Offending Team during her student years, Samantha's trip to Calais will be the first time she's organised a relief effort on this scale.

On her motivations to help the Calais cause, Samantha says: 'I kept seeing images of parents handing their young children to strangers on beaches in countries they’d never set foot in before. How bad must the situation be in their home towns if they’re willing to risk their children’s lives to cross the water? You’d only do that if you had no choice.  

'I couldn’t bear to see these pictures and read refugees’ stories and not do anything. There are some amazing people throughout Europe doing some incredible work, and I felt that we should help as well.

'It’s not a long term solution, but the refugees need all the help they can get with winter fast approaching.'

Further information

You can find out more on Samantha's YouCaring page or in this Help Refugees video produced by Samantha.