Students Lending Their Expertise in French Refugee Camp

Paramedic students refugee appeal

They are hoping to raise as much money as they can for medical supplies to take, while calling on the public to donate clothing and toiletries.

Grace Millington, of Drakes Broughton, Pershore, who has spearheaded the idea, said: “It’s a chance to use our skills to help people.  I feel like places like these need more help and we don’t realise how lucky we are. 

“I thought it would be good to go over there and help out and also experience it and see what’s happening over there for ourselves.  It’s also going to expand on our skills as paramedics.” 

Grace, along with Lucy Foulkes, 21, of Ellesmere Port, Liverpool, Casey Jane, 20, of West Bromwich, and Georgia Poulton, 20, of Tipton, Dudley, will spend five days in early August volunteering at a camp in Calais with FAST (First Aid Support Team), an organisation made up of health professionals working across Calais and Dunkirk.

To raise funds, the second years will be doing a fundraising walk, along the length of the Malvern Hills wearing a heavy paramedic’s Basic Life Support (BLS) bag, on Monday, June 17.

Grace was inspired to help following a talk given at the University by a charity worker, and encouraged her fellow students to get involved.

“It was a real eye opener,” said the 24-year-old, who is now looking at working in such places longer term after she qualifies. 

“It was just the fact that these people were forced from their homes.  They had no choice.  If they had stayed they wouldn’t have survived so they risked their lives to come somewhere else.

“I was very surprised.  It was moving to see that there were lots of people living in these conditions, which were appalling, but still better than where they were living before.  That’s quite sad.”

While at the camp the students will be offering first aid, bandaging, basic assessment and working with voluntary doctors.  They will also help run the camp foodbank.

The students hope to give talks to other students about their experiences on their return and even make a documentary while out there.

“We’re working with a medical team so we can learn from the doctors which is good experience,” added Grace.

“It’s going to be a challenge, particularly seeing women and children in these camps.  It’s also going to be difficult to communicate, but it’s going to be good to learn how to overcome these communication barriers.”

The students are asking the public to sponsor their efforts or donate unwanted items, such as clothing, blankets, toothbrushes, toothpaste, plasters and toiletries.

There are two drop-off places to donate items; a box at the Hangar building at Worcester Students’ Union and another at the haematology ward (Laurel 3) at the Worcestershire Royal Hospital.

To sponsor the walk or donate log on to https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/grace-millington-1.  Here you can also find a list of supplies they are asking people to donate.