JCW’s trip to the refugee camp in Dunkirk and Calais


Nicola Lawler

Our charity team at JCW drove a van full of warm clothing, outdoor shelter items and baby care products to the refugee camps in Dunkirk and Calais to provide help for women and children who have left their homes due to war, conflict and persecution. JCW's trip to the camps gave us the opportunity to meet the people our donations were helping and to experience first hand what they were going through.

See our journey from London to Calais and meet the people we were trying to help.


How we raised the funds  

On January 4th 2019, JCW held a charity auction at our Annual Black Tie Gala to raise money for Shelter and The Refugee Women’s Centre. Our mission was to auction off 12 lots, including both comical lots and big-ticket lots, to raise funds to help make a significant impact on a charitable cause. The 12 lots raised a total of £16,000 from JCW employees which we are happy to say was way beyond our expectations.

Why did the Refugee Women’s Centre inspire us?

The Refugee Women's Centre is committed to supporting the specific needs of women, children and vulnerable people of all ages and nationalities, who have left their homes and loved ones due to war, conflict and persecution. We donated half the cash we raised to Shelter and used the other half to reserve a pot of money for the RWC for them to spend as needs change. We also purchased warm clothing, outdoor shelter and baby care products to take down to the refugee camps to provide aid to the women and children there. A lot of JCW employees have children and the thought of other people’s children of the same age without shelter, clothing or formula to feed their babies struck a nerve with us.

Sue and Laura playing with a little boy staying at the camp 

Philanthropy and seeing where our money goes

JCW put on events and sign-up for public events to raise money for charity throughout the year but we never get to see our money in action, interact with the people we are trying to help or ensure the full amount gets to the people we have raised the money for. So, we decided to drive down to the camps in Calais and Dunkirk to personally drop off donations and meet the people we were trying to help. We took donations of our own clothing and purchased tents, tarpaulin, clothes, baby formula, prams, nappies and blankets to take over to Dover, across the English Channel and into Calais.

Sue, Laura and Nicola with our delivery of aid at the distribution warehouse where all aid is kept ready to be used on demand. 

What we learnt from the experience

Our Managing Director, John Newton who was one of the JCW employees who visited the camps said

The enormity of the refugee crisis really hit home for me when I saw just how many children there were around the same age as my daughter living at the camp. Each one had travelled over 5000km to get there. Seeing that first-hand was quite a shock initially. We met some amazing people at the camp, everyone with their own story to tell and each having endured their own hardships.

They all welcomed us with open arms as if into their home. It made me very grateful and proud of everyone back at JCW who had donated so generously. Getting to meet the people who will benefit from our donation made it all the more special for us that we visited.

A couple of kids making an afternoon snack in the camp

Controversy with the camps

The camps hit the news in 2016 after they were burnt down by the authorities and since our visit, there has been another move to do so. We will be giving the RWC a final cash donation from the money we raised at our charity auction in January, to ensure that vulnerable women and children are provided with basic care or shelter no matter what journey they take.

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