A South Tyneside businessman’s mission to organise an aid convoy to help refugees in Calais has had an influx of support.
Shah Lalon Amin aims to visit the French port to deliver food, clothing and other necessities to refugees living in the makeshift camp, nicknamed ‘the jungle’.
The 35-year-old, from the Lawe Top, South Shields – who describes himself as an activist – has teamed up with Jenni Yuill, from Teesside, to set up the North East Solidarity with Calais Refugees Facebook page.
Within days of the appeal being launched, the mission has so far raised £2,200 and seen scores of essential items and clothing being donated to collection points.
The father-of-two said: “Everything is going brilliantly. We have 28 collection points throughout the North East now, considering we only had two 15 days ago. We have 24 volunteers. We have raised £2,200 so far.
“We anticipate we will need three to four vans to take all the aid over.”
We never expected this level of support.Shah Lalon Amin
Mosques, churches community centres and people’s garages are currently storing all of the donated items.
On September 13, Temple Park in John Reid Road, South Shields, will be transformed into a sorting centre, with other sorting centres taking place in Newcastle and Teesside.
Then the convoys will be heading to France on September 18.
The volunteers also plan
to make a documentary about the refugees while they’re there.
Mr Amin said: “We never expected this level of support. We’ve had donations coming from as far a Bahrain.
“We’ve had a van of collections from Hexham and we are expecting another van from Cumbria.
“We are appealing to the public to help us, we are simply wanting to deliver this aid to help our fellow humans who are in distress.
“We can’t abandon them, and it’s our moral obligation to do as much as possible.
“We’re not trying to get people into the country, but there’s a political and a humanitarian issue.”