A Lincoln village business owner is making a stand to help the 3,000 refugees now estimated to be camping in Calais, as the migrant crisis escalates across Europe.
Laura Mckeown, owner of pet and poultry supply business Feathers and Furries in Walcott near Lincoln, has set up a crowdfunder site in order to raise enough money to travel to Calais with a truck-load of essentials.
As thousands of desperate people flee their home countries, ending up in camps otherwise know as ‘The Jungle’ in Calais, images and news of stranded families inspired Laura to do what she could to help them survive.
Laura said: “I was seeing so many pictures of people struggling and I felt that they were being demonised for trying to escape the awful lives they were living.”
Some 240,000 people are believed to have already crossed the Mediterranean this year, attempting to escape war, poverty and disease.
Laura says her fundraiser isn’t about helping migrants cross borders, but simply an act of sympathy and aid.
“I don’t deny there is a migration problem”, she added, “and I’m not necessarily trying to help them to get to the UK. I just see it that these people are homeless and in desperate need of help.
“There is so much negativity surrounding the issue. All you see is crowds running down the channel tunnel, but I just see that as desperation.
“I have faced some criticism over the plans but I think we should do what we can.
“I know our resources are limited, but the way I see it other countries are doing more than us to help, and I just want to do my bit to provide clothes, food and essential items for survival.”
Laura, who says she will make her journey as soon as she has raised £1,000, has set a deadline of September 19.
“As soon as I raise the goal funds I will fill a van with necessities: soap, sanitary products, nappies, formula milk, baby food, baby clothes, underwear, toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, clean water, tinned food, bin bags (the list is endless); as well as some comforts, because let’s face it they could do with some and we have plenty to share!
“Things like: chocolate, baby wipes, flannels, towels, macs, gloves, clothes, squash, hats, shampoo, conditioner, washing powder, tubs to wash clothes in, baby baths, lip balm, pillows, socks – anything that would give you comfort at a scary point in your life, I want to take.”
Follow Laura’s fundraising mission on the website here, where supporters have so far pledged just £10.