Crisis Response-The Churches of St Margaret's Benefice

Crisis Response

email: crisisresponse@stmargaretsbenefice.org.uk if you want to be kept informed about current issues we are responding to.

We all have crises in our lives from time to time, and we get through them with our own personal strength, with the help and guidance of God, and with the kindness of others. St Margaret's Benefice has decided that we should be those "others" and to find practical ways to help those that find themselves in a crisis.  This page will provide details of current needs we are responding to and provide ways for anyone who wishes to make a difference.  

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Seeking Sanctuary says "Treat migrants as human beings." 

In the perilous years of  World War II many refugees took the dangerous and uncertain route through the Alps out of France in search of safety and freedom. Many who made the journey in the freezing winter temperatures did not survive.

 

And 75 years later these journeys are being made again, but in the opposite direction. Many young migrants who have survived the hazards of the Mediterranean are now making the journey from Italy to France along tracks at altitudes as high as 1700 metres. Clad in unsuitable clothes and with light footwear, they are at risk of falling victim to the dangers of seeking sanctuary in one of the most severe winters in recent years. We have learnt of a young man who had to have both his feet amputated in France because of frostbite but he was still deported to the frontier with Italy after his operation

 

Ben Bano, one of the Directors of 'Seeking Sanctuary', commented: On this day when Pope Francis has again asked the world to remember the suffering  and challenges faced by migrants every day, we appeal to all concerned by these experiences to put pressure on elected representatives and other authorities to resist the downward spiral of condemnation and vilification of migrants attempting to reach safety  and to ensure that they are treated with dignity and respect. As Pope Francis again reminds us, 'every migrant has a name, a face and a story'.


Phil Kerton & Ben Bano,

Co-Directors.

'Seeking Sanctuary' aims to raise awareness about people displaced from their homes and to channel basic humanitarian assistance from Faith Communities and Community Organisations via partnerships with experienced aid workers. Our special concern is for those who arrive in north-western France, mistakenly expecting a welcome in the UK. Almost all the 8,000+ migrants in Calais in October 2016 were moved away, hopefully to better accommodation. 1616 unaccompanied minors also left, along with hundreds of vulnerable women and children, hoping  that claims to stay in the UK or France would be processed. Many judge that they have been let down, and hundreds have returned to sleep rough near Calais and along the coast. The Grande-Synthe camp near Dunkirk burnt down in April 2017, displacing around 1400 people, over 950 of them moved elsewhere, whilst the rest remain nearby, joined by scores of newcomers weekly.

 

They need food, good counsel and clothes, which are accepted, sorted and distributed by several Calais warehouses, which also supply needs further afield.

 

Further information from Ben Bano on 07887 651117 or Phil Kerton on 01474 873802. See our latest news at www.seekingsanctuary.weebly.com



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Dover Outreach Centre has opened its Winter Night Shelters and are currently serving 14 homeless people.  Noel and Glenn are running the shelters between them, at various loctions, and so far everything is running smoothly.  It is heartening that vilnerable people are receiving the help and support they need, yet so sad that this service is needed in the first place.  We are welcoming Vee and Noel to our January Family Service on the 14th January to talk to us about the vital work of the Dover Out reach Centre.  We hope you can join us to support them.
 

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As you may know, we support two local Syrian refugee families, who have now been in our communities for nearly a year and a half.  It brings us a lot of joy to let you know that in July we welcomed a new baby boy, Yosef, to one of the families, and in November we welcomed (not so little!) Rafat to our first family!  Such a joy to welcome these new stages to our families' lives, their first children born into peace and not war. 


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Dover Outreach Centre has just celebrated it's 1st birthday, serving Dover's vulnerable with food, support and practical help.  They, in turn, need practical support, particularly financial, to keep this vital resourse open and doing their essential work.  Click here to read their Annual Report to give you  real insight into their vital work.  We are also delighted to be welcoming Vee Bentley from DOC to our Family Service at St Margaret's in January.

In the mean time, they are in desperate need for volunteers to help run the Winter Night Shelters.

We desperately need volunteers without them the Night Shelters cannot operate.

Last year showed us that Christians who have a real commitment to their church and their Lord make up the vast number of people prepared to give their time for others. We had hoped to be able to cover all seven nights this year we have the venues but, again, as last year not enough volunteers. There are two shifts one which works from 6.00 p.m. until 10.00 p.m. serving an evening meal, clearing away and helping to organise the beds; then from 10.00 p.m. until around 7.30 a.m. - this shift needs three people, two sleeping, one awake (with a swap around so that everyone gets at least some sleep)

The more volunteers we get the less often people would need to do a shift. Currently we are asking people to do one shift per week (so 13 shifts in total) but if enough people come forward we could make it less often and less of a burden.

Volunteers can choose which night of the week they wish to do.

The short training session is mandatory. There is one on Saturday 25th at 10.00 a.m. at Living Well church. Details are also on the Dover Outreach Centre Facebook page, or visit their website at www.doveroutreachcentre.org.uk.



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Dover_Food_Bank_Logo



You can leave your donations to Dover Foodbank in the box in St Margaret's Church porch - they particularly need the following items:
  • tinned fruit
  • baby food
  • rice pudding
  • long life fruit juice
  • noodles (not Pot Noodle)
  • Cuppa soup

  • Though all non-perishable food items are happpily accepted.
  • shampoo
  • shower gel
  • deodorant
  • cat food
  • nappies (size 3 & 4)

  • We have enough of :  ladies sanitary towels; fruit squash; soya milk; bottled waterthank you

    (list updated as at 16th February 2018)

There are three organisations working together in our area to support the refugees and asylum seekers in the South East:-
  • Migrant Help are a national organisation with offices in Dover who help vulnerable migrants across the UK feel protected, safe and supported so that they are able to move forwards with their lives.  They are supporting two Syrian refugee families who have been resettled in our area, and St Margaret's is liaising closely toprovide for their needs as part of our Crisis Response strategy.
  • Kent Refugee Action Network is an independent charity based in Canterbury that provides help and support to young unaccompanied asylum seekers and refugees who have arrived int he UK, so they can feel safe, belong and to build hope for a better future.
  • Samphire is a Dover-based charity who have worked with the Dover Immigration Removal Centre supporting and advocating for ex-detainees who face destitution and hardship after detention.  It engages with communities to challenge widely held misconceptions about immigration.

The Diocese of Canterbury, along with KRAN and Samphire, organised the recent #Just1Thing exhibition at St Mary's church - a great eaxmple of organisations coming together and demonstrating community engagement.