Beccles steps up to help refugees

A group from Beccles collecting aid to be sent to refugees in Calais and beyond.Caroline Topping, Al

A group from Beccles collecting aid to be sent to refugees in Calais and beyond.Caroline Topping, Alice Denham, Tom Lee, Maddy Farenden, Suzie Warman and Elfrede Brambley-Crawshaw.Picture: James Bass - Credit: James Bass

The people of Beccles are rallying to the aid of the tens of thousands of refugees stranded across Europe and in refugee camps in the Middle East in what has been described as an “amazing” response over the past few days.

A group of volunteers have started a collection of items for those in need, and a number of collection points have been set up across the town.

One of those is at Tower House, New Market, Beccles, next to the Bell Tower, which will be manned by a team of volunteers on Saturday for people wanting to donate items for men, women and children.

The group will also be collecting for Help for Heroes, with volunteers selling jams in aid of the cause, and Norwich Soup Kitchen.

Kulture Shock in the town’s Blyburgate is also receiving donations of items for refugees during its opening hours.

The group came together just last weekend and includes Tom Lee, Alice Denham, Suzie Warman, Beccles town councillor Elfrede Brambley Crawshaw and Waveney district councillor for Beccles Caroline Topping.

Mrs Denham said: “We are volunteers who are already involved in various public groups and charities, so it was natural, having seen the pictures of those suffering, that we wanted to help.

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“We were all individually sitting there thinking ‘what can I do’.”

One of the ideas for people looking to donate include filling an old rucksack with items such as hats, scarves, gloves, socks, waterproofs, blankets, soaps, candles, nappies, first aid kits, cereal bars, wet wipes and drinks bottles.

An alternative is a transparent bag filled with toiletries for either men or women, including feminine hygiene products.

Mrs Denham said: “We are also looking for Bizzy Bags for children, which are basically items to keep them busy. Things like jigsaws, dot-to-dot, colouring, pens etc.”

Any kind of clothing or other items for women, children and men are also being collected and all donations will be packed and sorted and combined with those from Halesworth before being transported to people in need,

Mrs Denham said: “It’s human beings helping human beings wherever they are. This particular crisis is huge - it’s the crisis of our time.

“In the 21st century we shouldn’t be having people in their millions being forced to leave a country that has been turned to rubble.

“A lot of people of people are parents - if you are willing to put your child in so much risk of them dying, you must have a really good reason to do it.

“To see a child lose its life in that way, on its own, floating in the sea, you can’t not respond to that.”

She said the response from people in Beccles had been very positive: “There has been an mazing reaction and people have been joining the group.

“We have had one or two people saying ‘what about the homeless here’ so we have listened to that and will also have a collection box for other charities.”

Anyone wishing to help out can find out more information at

The collection bins will remain available after Saturday for people wishing to donate.

Are you organising a collection for refugees? Email or call 01502 712060.