The first meeting of Snitterfield WI in 2017 attracted an excellent attendance and numerous proposals for future activities were discussed. These ranged from skittles to walking groups to cake-baking; the collection of tombola prizes for Village Fête; and knitted goods for Alzheimer sufferers (utilising the ideas and talents of members).

Our speaker this month was Louise Bennett, a member of Social Workers Without Borders. She entitled her talk ‘Experiencing the Refugee Crisis from the Outside, though she is very much inside the camp when she visits the ‘Calais Jungle’.

As part of a team regularly taking help to Calais she is particularly concerned with the welfare of children. Before winter set in (officially November 1)) the French authorities demolished a huge part of the camp, leaving large numbers of unaccompanied children, some of whom went to sleep on the streets of the town, watched over by volunteers.

Calais Refugee Aid produces food for two kitchens and Snitterfield has been generous in collecting food and clothing for the warehouse, as well as food parcels for the camp in Dunkirk. This camp has showers, a communal kitchen and a school but is dangerous at night because it is controlled by gangs, making it difficult for aid agencies to be able to work.

Children coming to the UK need foster families. At present, processing centres vary greatly and those in France are feared. We can help by donating dry or tinned foods and warm clothes to the Community Café at Snitterfield Village Hall on the first Sunday of the month, when our excellent speaker, Louise, will be happy to accept them.

Barbara Alcock