Who are we?
The Calais Resilience Collective is a team of experienced systemic narrative therapists and clinical psychologists who are developing ways to enhance resilience and coping strategies for refugees, staff and volunteers in the Calais Camp, 'The Jungle'. Our team members, based in the UK, are donating our time and professional experience, to offer a regular presence in the Camp every Friday. We are co-ordinating our efforts with existing aid organisations in the Camp, including Médicins du Monde, Médicins Sans Frontières, Art Refuge, and the Refugee Youth Service. Together we are negotiating ways to most effectively meet the complex needs of refugees who have fled terrifying contexts, often experience traumatic journeys, and are living in terrible circumstances, while hoping to make a transition to a safe home. We are facilitating groups for women and children, and for unaccompanied young people. We are also offering support to staff and volunteers in the Camp, to strengthen their capacity to continue work in such challenging conditions.
Why are we doing this?
Refugees in the Camp currently have very limited psychosocial support, despite many having been exposed to extreme trauma during their journeys across continents. Staff and volunteers based at the Camp also have very limited access to supervision and support in responding to the distress of the people with whom they are working. Our approaches build on work carried out by the Refugee Team at the Tavistock Centre in London, which has been found to be helpful to unaccompanied minors and refugee families in the UK.
As the plans to demolish the Calais camp draw nearer, we are continuing our presence there, supporting refugees who are increasingly anxious, in particular the unaccompanied minors, and the organisations and volunteers trying to support them for an uncertain future. We will continue our work with refugee minors and families wherever it's needed in the UK and across Europe. In the face of increased polarisation around refugees in Europe, we feel that our work is needed more than ever.
What do we need?
We really need your support to pay for weekly travel costs from London to Calais, and to fund trained interpreters and materials (Lego, plasticine, paints and paper) for the groups we are running in the Camp. Two members of our team go to the Camp every Friday. The need for this support has increased in the face of threats to the future of the Camp, as some refugees, particularly those in the women and children's centre, will remain even after the main camp has been disbursed. Staff and volunteers will also continue to need our support as they assist those left behind.
To learn what we're doing in the Camp, check out our Facebook page for regular updates.