I can't tell you how lucky I feel to have seen the smiles and joy of people who have come and chosen goods from the free shop.
It's a roller coaster of emotions when people arrive, many looking totally beaten and shell shocked. But after an hour or more at the hub meeting our wonderful team of volunteers and browsing the free shop people are leaving with a huge smile, a hug, and the knowledge that we all really really care.
I can't thank enough our volunteers, new and old, for the hard work and commitment you are putting in. And to everyone who has given money, donations and support. You're all amazing.
Here's what's been happening at the Hub...
- In the last few months we have been working hard to sort, clean and prepare the space so that it feels welcoming and can function as a warehouse, free shop and meeting space. We are finally there !!!!
- We continue to send a steady stream of desperately needed aid to france and have bought thousands of pounds of sleeping bags and thermals and food for Refugees in Paris.
- We're supporting our truly amazing Gavin Fraser who will be spending 6 weeks volunteering in one of the most difficult places in Greece, spotting the boats coming in and responding to the needs of the people coming off the boats.
- In true ABC spirit the hub is an organic project where we will go with the needs of the people.
- We are planning a cooking group for cooks to get trained in health and hygiene so they can cook as a job.
- We are training two refugees to get their PAT test certificate so that they can then get jobs.
- We are getting two computers next week so that people can use them to write CV, search for jobs, etc.
- We are running English conversation classes and have already extended our free shop opening hours to an extra day.
- We have delivered 15 of your donated pushchairs to ladies who have been stuck at home isolated because they could not travel far with out a push chair. And we've given hundreds of pounds worth of donated nappies to people who were choosing between nappies or food.
- We are in the process of completely furnishing a donated house that will house 4 refugees who are currently homeless.
- We have given many tents, clothes and surplus donations to a Bristol homeless charity.
- We provided £1000 worth of clothes packs to the Belgrave refugee camp.
- Our first fund raiser at the hub was a huge success! We raised £700, met many new supporters and some amazing brave Syrian refugees cooked the most delicious food for all who attended.
What we need now...
Donations of aid - please keep them coming. Things we are really in need of are toiletries deodorants , shampoo & conditioner, moisturisers, washing powder, nap pies (especially newborn and size 4).
These items are all so expensive and most of the refugees and asylum seekers who come to us are trying to survive on just £5 a day, or less in some cases.
Read the full list of donations here.
Funds - we are currently fundraising to buy a new washing machine and tumble dryer to wash all the clothing and bedding so it's in a good state to give out.
Every pounds counts. Please give what you can on our donate page.
Volunteers - to join the team and make even more of a difference, fill in our form and we'll be in touch.
Thanks so much for reading, supporting, helping, donating, and spreading the word.