Chorleywood volunteers raise over £3,000 for Refugee Week

Author:Reporter

A community of volunteers who held a pop-up café have raised more than £3,000 for refugees with the help of school children in the area.

On June 18, Chorleywood For Refugees opened their Safe Passage curb-side coffee shop outside Chorleywood Station with the help of four primary schools to raise money for Refugee Week.

They held collection buckets and offered hot coffee, tea and breakfast to passers by on the morning commute.

Schools taking part included Chorleywood Primary School, Chenies School, The Russell School and Christ Church Chorleywood.

The volunteers worked hard all week sometimes getting up at 5am to be outside the station by 6.30am on all five mornings. In total they raised £3,425.

Rachel Lesiter, a charity worker from Blacketts Wood Drive, said: “We were just trying to do a bit to help refugees. In the past we have held food gathering events which we then took down to Calais – shortly after that we did a similar event collecting shoes.

“We were trying to raise the children’s awareness of the life of refugees and the kids had to organise it themselves, they had to get up, they had to work hard.

“They did have a lot of fun, this wasn’t about them it was doing something for someone else – fabulous.

The children were given blank flags on which they were asked to write “messages of peace and kindness”. Some messages said, “we are all in this together”, “treat each other well” and “world peace”.

Rachel added: “My kids were up with me every day at 5.30am and it’s important they don’t grow up in this bubble in Chorleywood.

“It’s a great place to grow up but this opens their eyes to the wider world and reminds them there are lots of other people not as lucky as they are and they can do something about that.

“All children have a different energy and attitude and when you explain it to them they get it.”

Rachel went on to say the event carried a much deeper message to remember the “basic principles of humanity” such as “looking after one another” no matter where you are from.

Adding: “The way society is going people are closing down and it is really important the children look out rather than inwards.”

Rachel said the heads of Christ Church, Duncan Gould, and The Russell School were both there to help with the charity drive and David Gauke, MP for south west Hertfordshire, and Phil Williams, district councillor for Chorleywood South and Maple Cross ward also showed their support.

One little girl reported: “A man came up to me to put £5 in my bucket and asked what we were raising money for, so I explained about the charity, Safe Passage, and why we were doing the café.

“He put the £5 back in his wallet and took out a £20 note instead. It made me feel extremely proud.”

David Gauke said: “I was delighted to join primary school pupils from Chorleywood in supporting this cause. Congratulations to all involved in organising the activities.”

Source: http://www.watfordobserver.co.uk/news/16318294.chorleywood-volunteers-raise-over-3000-for-refugee-week/