We, and some of our friends, have made a number of trips to volunteer in different regions in the Balkans. You can read more about our stories below.
Most recently, Joe Payten has come from two weeks volunteering on Chios, shortly after the EU-Turkey deal. We are so in awe of his tremendous effort, making a difference to thousands of terrified refugees who have escaped unspeakable horrors and a perilous journey hoping for safety in Europe only now to be faced with an ever more uncertain future.
On 20 January 2017, we will be putting on our second Stand Up for the Refugees fundraiser at the Union Chapel. Thanks again to the amazing Charlie Perkins, we’re looking forward to another amazing line-up hosted by Chortle’s Compere of the Year 2016 Kiri Pritchard-Mclean with Adam Buxton, Romesh Ranganathan, Joe Lycett, Ellie White and Tash Demitriou, Lolly Adefope and Baker Terry and music from the Cash Cows.
On 14 January 2016, we put on a comedy fundraiser at the Union Chapel to raise money to help the refugees on their journey to safety in Western Europe.
With the help of our amazing friend Charlie Perkins, we secured a stellar line up comedians – Daniel Kitson to compere and run our raffle and acts by Aisling Bea, Baker Terry, Bridget Christie, Lolly Adefope, Rob Delany, Tim Key and Tom Basden.
The beautiful chapel was packed to the rafters as around 1,000 people came along including a surprise attendance by Labour leader and local MP Jeremy Corbyn and shadow chancellor, John McDonnell.
Thank you to everyone who came and especially to those of you who donated amazing raffle prizes, sold raffle tickets on the night, spread the word and otherwise supported us.
Check out our pictures of the night, as well as our wonderful event poster by the very talented Jack Noel.
We are putting our heads together and thinking about Take 2… so watch this space!
Where your money has gone
We have raised nearly £30,000 thanks to you wonderful people and we're enormously grateful for your donations.
- We spent nearly £7,000 on food and warm clothes which were handed out to the freezing refugees crossing the border between Serbia and Croatia.
- We spent £5,000 helping an amazing team of Spanish lifeguards, Salvamento Maritimo Humanitario, whom we met out on Chios buy the equipment for a proper Atlantic 75 RIB lifeboat.Previously, they were using a small rented pleasure-boat with a flashlight that our friend Michelle gave them. This was clearly insufficient for a team who were out in the dead of the night rescuing hundreds of people packed onto makeshift rafts wearing nothing but cheap fake plastic life jackets. They are now able to continue their work with proper equipment, saving the lives of so many more people who continue to make that perilous journey across the Aegean sea.
- We gave £5,000 to the phenomenal teams of independent volunteers in the Chios Eastern Shore Rescue Team to help them buy basic essentials for the people who are now trapped on the island in detention centres. Your funds are going towards purchasing food and water as well as clean socks and underwear, dry shoes and entertainment for the children who are trapped there with nothing to do but wait for the impending deportations. The need for independent volunteers to provide these basic items remains key as many NGOs have been forced to pull out of the area given the political complexities in providing aid people who are in detention.
- We have spent the remaining nearly £13,000 on a project with the wonderful (and brilliantly named) Croatian organisation, Are You Syrious and the incredible British Organisation Hot Food Idomeni. With your funds, we have helped them to set up a mobile kitchen which is currently serving over 1,000 hot meals a day to refugees sleeping rough in Belgrade. The kitchen will also be fully mobile, meaning that it can be moved whenever and wherever necessary – a vital tool given how quickly the situation can change out there.
We simply cannot thank you enough for your money and support. You have made an enormous difference to so many people's lives and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
If you would like to donate to the cause, please do on our Just Giving page.
We are two friends, in our thirties, who live in Hackney. Beatrice grew up in Brighton and now works for a production company in Soho. Lucy grew up in London, with refugee grandparents, and is now a lawyer.
We had both read about the refugee crisis in the media and were struck by the enormity of the situation and the lack of responsibility that the governments of Europe seemed to be taking for the numbers of people who were drowning in the Mediterranean and freezing in the Balkans. The impetus for the trip came when Lucy's brother Mikey and a friend from university went out to volunteer in Hungary and found that you can still be of massive help as an unskilled volunteer, and you can very visibly see the impact of what you do. Mikey was right - and you can do a lot in a short space of time but it didn't stop us wanting to do more.
You can read more about our trip to the Balkans below. And you can find out more information on what the money will be spent on. If you want to volunteer yourself, we're happy to share our tips so please contact us.
If you are interested in volunteering or would like to get in touch for any other reason please contact us