Catherine – Nurse come firewood volunteer


Catherine is a nurse specialising in diabetes care. She chose to book out her valuable time off to join our weekend trip to Calais in March.

P&O ferry lounge – Catherine is the one in the middle!

Catherine says

“The weather was cold and windy making the ferry trip a bit choppy and got us all thinking about how tough it would be to live in a tent on the French coast tonight.

We arrived at the hostel on Friday 6pm. I think many people picture a ‘hostel’ as one huge room crammed with bunk beds and a grotty bathroom. But it was fine – basic but clean and quiet.

The cold weather made it seem all the more important to help pack up the warm clothing and coat donations to hand out to refugees over the weekend. The clothes sorting tasks are just one of the jobs I helped with on my first day at the Help Refugees warehouse.

The Refugee Community Kitchen provided a lovely warm meal for our lunch and I had time to chat to many other volunteers over lunch and coffee

But my favourite work was getting out into the fresh air and packing up firewood with the wood yard team. I enjoyed the contrast to my normal working week – being outside doing simple physical work. The cold weather confirmed how crucial it was to be working here, as this wood will provide the only chance for some warmth for the refugees here. This bag of wood is so important that it is actually weighed to ensure fair distribution and avoid any fights amongst refugees. What a desperate situation this is!