RAFT was established in late August 2015 and has grown from a very small project in a garage to a large and successful organisation with a busy and lively warehouse.
We are not affiliated to any political party or religious group and we welcome donors, supporters and volunteers equally and with much appreciation. Our current working hours are Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday (Mend to Send day) and Saturday from 10am till 3pm and we can be found at The Old Auction House, Canal Road, Taunton, TA1 1PY.
We aim to help refugees and displaced people wherever and whenever we are able, regardless of colour, culture, religion or football team (!) – if someone is in need, and we can help then we will do our best to. So far we helped refugees in Calais, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Greece, Uganda, Romania and of course, people in need in our local community and within the UK. We couldn’t do this without your help and we are so grateful for any support. Whether it be words of encouragement, telling your friends and family about us, a few hours a week to come and help sort or donations, we really appreciate it. Our current needs donations wise are as follows:
Food: Tinned beans, pulses, veg, fruit, rice, flour, oil, spices, oil, uht milk, energy/cereal bars, liquid baby milk, baby food (halal or vegetarian)
Clothes: Good quality clothing, especially warm winter clothing including hats, gloves and scarves and good quality, practical footwear.
Bedding: Blankets, sleeping bags, clean and laundered duvets/pillows with covers, baby blankets and sleeping bags.
Medicine and Toiletries: Basic first aid items, incontinence pads, wheelchairs, zimmer frames etc, basic medicines, sanitary towels, shower gels, dental care, hair care, deodorants.
Baby: Nappies, wipes, nappy cream, breast pads, maternity pads, gentle baby soap
Thank you so much for your continued support, we have been able to do so much and to help so many because of your generosity and kindness 🙂
Here is a list of our shipments to date so far!
September 2015 – January 2016
1. Our first delivery was sending a car load of tents and sleeping bags to Portsmouth, to Don’t Hate, Donate which sent those on to Calais.
2. A large amount of blankets and warm clothes went to High Wycombe which would then be distributed throughout Europe wherever they were needed.
3. We sent 200 individually made up packs and men’s warm coats out with John Toon to Calais.
4. We took food parcels, tents and sleeping bags to Bath, which were then taken over to Calais.
5. We took wheelchairs and crutches to Newport where they were handed to a member of the medical team who took them out to the medical centre in Calais.
6. Food parcels, men’s shoes, blankets and warm clothes for children went up to Putney which were then sent forwards to Calais.
7. We collected dozens of pairs of children’s shoes in line with JoJo Maman Bebe’s event and filled a car which we then took up to the Newport store. These were then taken out to the children in Lebanon.
8. An enormous van load of blankets, men’s clothes, women’s clothes, children’s clothes, food parcels, and shoes for all were all taken up to Birmingham to a fantastic organisation called The Albayan Foundation which sends aid directly out to Otma Camp on the Turkish/ Syrian border.
9. We filled a van full of blankets which were all taken over to Calais.
10. The lovely Marianne collected food parcels which she took over to Calais to distribute there.
11. Another van load of food parcels and blankets went off to Calais.
12. The amazing Jaye and Lyndsay took a caravan and van loaded with blankets, tents, sleeping bags over to Calais and left the caravan there to house a family in great need of shelter.
13. We helped to fill a container alongside a group in Weston Super Mare with clothes, blankets, tents, sleeping bags, food and toiletries which was then shipped out to Samos.
14. A lorry load of clothes, food, sleeping bags, blankets, shoes…and a few boxes of Somerset apples and some cricket gear went off to Calais via a group in Barnstaple.
15. A van full of clothes, food, toiletries, sleeping bags, blankets and shoes went up to Birmingham to The Albayan Foundation via John Toon which went forwards again to Otma Camp.
16. A delivery of appropriate summer clothing was delivered to Refugee 768 in Huddersfield to be sent onward to Lesvos.
17. A huge van load went off to High Wycombe full of aid obtained to be sent forwards to Turkey.
18. Von and Matt from Pyramid Organics took a van full of donations down to Penzance which was then sent out to Greece. They filled up the van on the way back with donations from Buckfastleigh in Devon!
19. A huge van load full of food, toiletries, nappies, wipes and shoes was loaded up by John Toon and his family and taken to The Albayan Foundation in Birmingham to help fill their Syria bound container.
20. Thanks to social media and the quick response of amazing people, we answered a call from Calais for desperately needed blankets and filled a car with all the blankets we had which was driven to Surrey and onwards from there to Calais by some very kind people.
21. Jaye and Lyndsay took their second trip over to Calais, again with another caravan and lots of aid to distribute in camp there.Aid included desperately wanted prayer mats. They also took £80 to purchase fresh fruit for the kitchens there and £180 for medical supplies.
22. We filled another van full of all sorts of aid which went up again to The Albayan Foundation in Birmingham with John Too and then onwards to Otma Camp on the Syrian border.
23. The wonderful James Champignon filled a van with aid from our warehouse to take on his trip over to Calais. We also gave him money to purchase fresh produce for the kitchens there.
24. John Linton came to the warehouse en route to Calais and filled up his car with donations that had been collected by RAFT. We also gave him £115 which he spent on sets of thermal underwear, and a further £100 cash to purchase fresh fruit which is always so desperately wanted and needed in camp.
25. Some friends of our lovely Cath were going to Calais and stopped buy to load every spare space in their car with blankets and roll mats and sleeping bags to take over. We also gave them money to give to the kitchen to buy much needed food.
26. Becky filled her vehicle up with warm blankets to take over with her on her trip to Calais.
27. We filled a van and a trailer full of mixed aid which was then driven up to INeed in Newport who were sending a huge load over to Syria.
28. John Toon and his amazing family filled up their lorry with all sorts of aid and took it up to Birmingham to drop off at The Albayan Foundation who were then sending out and on to Otma Camp.
29. A small group from Taunton arrived at the warehouse and took tents and blankets in their van which they then drove over to Calais to distribute.
30. Again, a great mixture of assorted aid including clothes, shoes, food, toiletries, blankets, duvets went up to The Albayan Foundation in Birmingham with Dan from Suma who has been a great help to us in transporting our donations.
31. The amazing John and family took a pallet of food up to a group run by Tariq in Birmingham which was then forwarded on to Greece.
32. Wonderful Kate Conroy made a trip over to Calais, and this time collected donations from the RAFT warehouse to take with her.
33. Von and Matt from Pyramid Organics took a huge load of assorted donations from food to clothes to shoes and toiletries down to Plymouth where a group were filling a container bound for Syria.
34. Mark came to the RAFT warehouse and took suitable items for his trip to Calais. We also gave him £50 to buy fresh produce with for the kitchens there.
35. Jaye and Lyndsay took their third trip over, with the third caravan filled with aid to distribute and once again, the caravan stayed to give a more sturdy shelter for a family in great need.
36. Dan from Suma loaded up his van again with pallets of assorted items to take up to The Albayan Foundation in Birmingham.
37. The very talented ‘Cartoon Kate’ came by the RAFT warehouse and took donations with her for her trip to Calais.
38. John and his family filled up their van with boxes of clothes, boots, tents, roll mats, items selected for the school in Dunkirk, boxes of bibles and food along with many individually prepared bags that will be distributed to individual ladies and children over in Calais.
39. Our very own Lush Lesley and Richard collected donations from the warehouse and filled up their trusty Berlingo and took them over to Calais where they met up with a family, also providing them with a caravan. RAFT also purchased new clothes for the two young children. Lesley spent money raised at one of her fabulous fundraising dinners on food for them.
40. After a phone call received, Mark came to the warehouse and we filled up his transport with blankets and gave him £50 to spend on fresh food to go to Calais.
41: Suzi Hearne went to Calais and took a van full of aid, that we helped fill with your donations.
42: Aid going to Calais and than also onwards to Greece with the marvellous Stuart and Theo.
43:a) Approximately 1000 individually #packedwithlove individual children’s (0-6 years) went to Jojo Maman Bebe in Newport for onwards distribution to refugee camps in Lebanon
B) . We also then dropped 15 boxes of aid for Calais to a group in Newport who were heading over this week. We were grateful once again to Matt of Pyramid Organics for doing the delivery.
44: Usman and his family are driving a lorry full of aid donations to the Calais camps.
This has all been made possible by YOU, we are grateful for the volunteer hours, donations and support that everyone gives us.
Spot the 41 sleeping bags we purchased from the funds raised at our nearly new sale.
The aid will be dropped to the warehouses in Calais where it is desperately needed due to the devastating upheaval that is being experienced.
45: Rob collected donations for his trip to Calais where he will distribute aid as the warehouses are short of many items. We sent him off with plenty of blankets, warm clothes and food. We also gave £50 to be used to purchase fresh food.
46: Mark returning for a second visit to RAFT and is now off to Calais with lots of donations including many blankets.
47: Rachel and Nick Barradale took a van load of donations to Newport to be given to I-Need for there next Syrian shipment.
48: Suma Organics have freely given their time and lorry space to take 4 pallets of aid and 3 large dumpy bags to The Albayan Foundation for onwards distribution in Syria.
49: Lesley and Richard are off to France to take aid so desperately needed by refugees and a bulk buy of spices to the camps which were purchased following the RAFT Easter Eggstravaganza.
50: Large donation of aid leaving #raft going to I-Need for further distribution in Syria.
51: Suma Organics took pallets of aid to the Albayan Foundation for distribution at the Otma Refugee Camp on the Turkey-Syria. We are very grateful for Suma Organics who pick up and deliver for free large amounts of Aid.
52: We Sent out 20 large food distribution packs which are off to Calais with Mel, they will feed 2-3 individuals for a couple of days each, they reached the Care4Calais warehouse yesterday…..Thank you to Mel for taking them over as part of the delivery
53: We sent a van load of women and children’s clothes off on the beginning part of the journey to Bulgaria. This is to help women and children who have been trafficked during the crisis. This was taken by Haydn and his team.
54: We helped fill Mark’s van once again with sleeping bags, shoes, tents, blankets and food….and a box of paper cups and lids for teas and soups, for his trip to Calais. He was also taking 14 amazing hand built rocket stoves for people to cook on in camp, which were made by The Windy Smithy.
55: RAFT were able to purchase sleeping bags for the camps in Calais. Jaye and Lyndsay transported these sleeping bags along with a caravan that is being donated to house children in the camp.
56: Tim from Weston Super Mare came and filled his van up with about 150 blankets to take to Calais plus £50 cash to buy fresh fruit and veg for the kitchen.
57: We helped Rachel Parsons fill her car with aid to send to Calais including food and money to buy fresh food.
Lyndsey is also heading over with Rachel to volunteer in the warehouse in Calais as they are also desperate for volunteers.
58: Von and Matt (from Pyramid Organics) took aid to Donate Don’t Hate based near Portsmouth. The aid will be heading to Uganda to a camp which supports many thousands of refugees who have fled Sudan due to the civil war.
59: We have helped UK action for refugees by filling up an ambulance that called in to #raft enroute to Penzance. It is going to be shipped in May to Syria filled with medical and sanitary aid as well as beautiful baby boxes filled with everything needed to look after and keep babies clean and warm.
60. Lesley and Mel delivered Approx 100 filled and wrapped shoeboxes off to Cardiff for their shoebox4syria campaign.
61& 62: Usman drove two very large shipments bound for Syria via Anaya Aid (Cardiff).you Thank you to everyone who donated, sorted, and packed to get this done.
63: We sent lots of blankets and items required off to Calais with Marianne who is also taking donated over stoves and firewood as well.
64:We sent the windy smithy off to Calais this week with a van load of blankets and sleeping bags, food and other much needed items in Calais.
65: We sent Matt from Pyramid Organics off to Plymouth on Friday with a van load of aid for Syria.
66: James champignon off to Birmingham with a van full of donations bound for Syria
67: Lily collected a car full of donations for her trip to the Calais camps.
68: On Sunday we sent off lots of ready made baby boxes prepared by Mel from donations. These are full of comfy clothes, nappies, wipes, cream and other items which are off to Syria and Greece thanks to UK Action For Refugees.
69: We helped fill Alan’s car with lots of lovely warm blankets and sleeping bags that are heading to Calais, to help those recently affected by the fire.
70: Lesley went off to Calais with lots of lovely blankets amongst other requests that the camp needs.
71: James took a whole van load of packed donations for distribution in Calais.
72: Our first dispatch of aid going to the Lebanon. Lots of lovely children’s items going via High Wycombe to aid the displaced families there. Even the roof box was full of 30 packs of nappies. Fed and Lesley did you do this drop off?
73: Tents, sleeping bags and blankets on their way to Calais.
74: UK Action For Refugees carried out a mammoth logistical delivery of clothes from Penzance and pick up of aid to get to Ipswich and back again. They also too a large number of baby boxes to High Wycombe.
75:Alan took approx 75 blankets and sleeping bags to Calais.
76: Searahj from The Albayan Foundation UK collected donations for onward distribution in Syria.
77: This shipment included medical aid including lots of donated walking aids, clothing and food. They will be on a container bound for Syria via Anaya Aid, Cardiff.
78: Peter took a van load of aid to Calais. This included boxes of oil and apricots along with tents, blankets and other much needed items.
79: Alice (formally of the family therapy space in the jungle) took a car load of blankets, sleeping bags, loom bands and food for personal distribution in Calais
80: Oak and Ellie took a whole load of donations for their trip to the Calais camps.
81: This shipment was collected by Open Hearts Open Borders, from Plymouth who will deliver it to Syria. The donations included Baby boxes, equipment, food and clothing.
82: Jim from Crediton took a mega pile of sleeping bags, blankets, a few tents and the tough bags for food distribution in Calais.
83: Searahj from Albayan Foundation collected donations for onward distribution to Syria
84: This shipment included a hospital bed, clothing, medical supplies, walking aids and food which is being delivered to Syria via Anaya Aid, Cardiff.
85: Usman took a large van load of aid headed for Syria via Anaya Aid in London.
86: We filled Peter and his van full of tents, blankets, sleeping bags, food, bikes and fresh apples for his trip to Calais.
87: A shipment was collected by Anaya Aid. This included lots of wonderful medical aids we had donated.
88: Computers are off to the camps in Syria via Anaya Aid to be used in the makeshift schools and educational facilities.
89: Blandford Cares helped fill their van with much needed aid for Calais
90: We sent a large number of computers to Greece to be used in a refugee centre to help support John Sloan and his team there.
91: This shipment was picked up by Holly and Tom today. Blankets, food and freshly picked Somerset apples are on their way to Calais tomorrow.
92: Blandford Cares who are delivering aid to Calais today
93: Albayan Foundation UK collected donations bound for Syria
94: Anaya Aid Cardiff picking up donations for Syria
95: Anaya Aid West London picking up aid for Syria
96: A Delivery of aid from RAISE straight to Anaya Aid. This also included at least 30 duvets that will be used to keep many people warm.
97: A Van full of warm winter clothing, sturdy boots, medical, walking aids and food was picked up today by Usman bound for Syria via Anaya Aid, Cardiff.
98: Sue and Neil have taken car full of donations to Calais camps.
99: Mark took a whole load of food, blankets and sleeping bags for calais.
100: Alice took Aid donations to Calais
101: Matt filled up his amazing van with essentials for Calais, ahead of the upcoming eviction of the camp.
102: Was picked up today by Searahj from The Albayan Foundation UK for onward shipment to Syria.
This shipment contained medical aids, a medical bed, food and bedding.
103: A shipment to Calais
104: Was picked up by Alan this afternoon on his way to Calais. He collected sleeping bags, blankets, suitcases and food. It’s his fourth trip to Calais.
105: Julian, who not only delivered a van load of aid but as he was travelling to London, he took a van load of food and clothes destined for Syria via Anaya Aid.
106: 100 plus boxes of aid loaded that will be taken by Barry to Cardiff for Anaya Aid to help refugees in Syria.
107: 50 plus boxes of wonderful donations along with fantastic medical equipment from Milbrook Medical, we filled a second van on same day heading for Syria via Anaya Aid, Cardiff.
108: We loaded up Julian and his van with aid bound for Calais.
109: Shipment to Syria via Anaya Aid.
110: Boxes and bags full of summer clothes went off to The Seeway Trust which will go over to Ghana to help clothe people and provide a means for families to make an income through selling them.
111: Helped fill space on a container heading to hospital/clinics in northern Syria with medical aid being sent to help look after the injured in conjunction with UK Action for Refugees
112: A van load of donations full of clothes, tents and medical items will head to Syria via Anaya Aid, Cardiff.
113: A van load of donations will head to Syria via Anaya Aid, Cardiff
114: We have sent a lovely load of warm clothes and items to refugees affected by the conflict in the Ukraine.
115: We achieved a lovely shipment of warm clothes this morning along with warm blankets and sleeping bags. These are off to Anaya Aid in Cardiff and then on to Syria.
116: Another van load of donations off to Syria via Cardiff and Anaya Aid. This was full of clothes, tents and medical items.
117: Shipment to Ghana via the fantastic Seeway Trust. We filled a van full of summer items and they very kindly, exchanged this for a van of warm winter items that will be suitable to send to Syria and Greece.
118: A van load of aid was picked up which is destined to go over to John Sloan/Refugee Support Greece at Camp Alexandria via their warehouse in Slough. This aid includes boxes and boxes of brand new art and school supplies which money raised from Lush Lesley’s amazing lunches has raised. They also took lots of warm winter clothes for men, women, children and babies.
119: A van load full of aid was sent to Anaya aid in Cardiff where it will then go onwards to Syria. We sent children’s clothes, mens and womens clothes, medical items and blankets.
120: Anaya Aid This van was full of warm clothes, medical aid and food going to Anaya Aid and bound for Syria.
121: warm clothes, underwear and blankets have been sent to a project supporting those displaced in the Ukraine due to the conflict in the crimea.
122: seeways trust picked up a shipment of summer clothes that supports their initiative in Ghana and they gave us a van full of winter items
123: searahj and the Albayan Foundation picked up a van load of clothes, food and medical items that will go to the Idlib region in Syria via Birmingham.
124&125: Two shipments to Anaya Aid Cardiff full of clothes, blankets, sanitary products and medicine. On shipment #124 we spent £300 that had been donated from a variety of people and St Mary’s Church. Thank you so much to all the first fivers and St Mary’s church. Today we packed up £300 worth of food and baby products and put it on the first transport out this morning for Syria via Anaya Aid Cardiff .
126: Anaya Aid Cardiff -Syria
The red bags are full of much needed bedding. the last of our food and once again we packed the gaps with sleeping bags and blankets.
127: This lovely van load went on Saturday to Anaya aid in Cardiff full of food, clothing, baby items and will shortly leave for Syria.
128:Lesley large car was loaded up with items needed at the warehouse in Calais for distribution in Northern France.
129:We rounded off the weekend with another fabulous shipment of aid to Anaya Aid Cardiff for onwards movement to Syria.
130: Lots of lovely warm clothes will be sent to Syria via the Albayan Foundation along with blankets and food.
131: Another busy day at the #raft warehouse, we sent this van full of lovely warm clothes and blankets including the wonderful 240 shoeboxes from Newton Abbott college to Anaya Aid.
132: George picked up a load of summer clothes that are not suitable for our current shipments to refugees in the middle east. These are going to Ghana in a container which will arrive in February and help those living in poverty along with some medical appliances to help those who have nothing.
133: Mark stopped off at RAFT to collect Aid as he was off to Dunkirk and Paris, France to distribute aid
134: Barry picked up another shipment of aid that is destined for Syria via Anaya Aid, Cardiff.
135: This shipment to Syria via the Albayan Foundation in Birmingham. They took all the boxed up bric a brac to sell in their charity shop and lots of boxes of warm clothing and food. One of our supporters Judy arrived with £100 of food bought from the proceeds of a craft fair and most of this was loaded up straight away on to the van for shipment.
136: last shipment to Syria before Christmas was to Anaya Aid. We sent over 100 boxes of warm bedding, clothes, medical, toiletries, and thanks to Suzi and other advent donors over 30 boxes of food.
137: Lucy took Aid to deliver to camps in Northern France and Paris in her van including boxed food, blankets and new men’s underwear and socks. She also took some lovely bikes from “on your bike”, a great local cause.
138: Shipment to go to Syria via Anaya aid, they loaded up a van with boxes of donations including lots of with medical items that have been donated.
139: Last Shipment of 206 is on its way to Uganda to the orphanage village thanks to Hannah and friends for picking it up.