Share this page

Small ads

How many could we take?

From Michael Prior

Friday, 4 September 2015

All of us will have been moved close to tears by the photos and accounts of the refugee crisis. Probably many will have signed petitions pushing Cameron to allow more of these poor people in to our country as quickly as possible. However, there is a need to do more.

I have been moved by the sight of how many German communities have readied themselves to receive refugees as their share of the 800,000 people that their government has said it is willing to take in. A few places in Britain have started to do the same. Should not Hebden Bridge be involved?

How many refugees could we offer hospitality to? What facilities could we offer? This is not just a matter of individual efforts, however well-placed, but of communities acting to share responsibility.

Cameron has given ground on his original shameful position but there are plenty of weasel words surrounding his pitch that refugees will come from camps close to Syria. There is some logic in this but it does nothing to help those unfortunates stranded at Budapest station.

Perhaps Hebden Royd Council could have an emergency session and set up some kind of coordinating body. Perhaps local community and faith groups could meet together. There are many such groups including such as my choir.

We should also remember that St Augustines in Halifax already struggles provide support to asylum seekers and others and would be overwhelmed if the numbers were multiplied.

If our petitions and marches have impact then the country will be faced with tens of thousands, hundreds if we can follow the German lead, of desperate and impoverished people arriving here needing not just physical support but also the moral support of a welcome from communities.

So how can we put our money and our time where our mouths are?

From Dave Gee

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Clearly the question of numbers is unanswerable without knowledge of the needs of these displaced people, the infrastructure in terms of schools, adult education, healthcare and housing is required together with the needs for employment, balanced against what can be provided. Whilst I am sure temporary refuge can be found their longer term re settlement is also vital and needs planning asap.

This all begs the question where does the money come from, and what about the needs of our existing population. We need to end the Austerity programme, cutting our Council services, the Government can borrow at historically low rates of interest and must do so.

Many thousands of new homes are needed especially in the South East, all parties know this, but they need to get on with building them and soon, not flogging off the ones that are already occupied.

This mess is caused by the imperialist adventures of our and other Governments, in our name, without our express consent. The arms makers who have made enormous profits from this misery should also be made to contribute by a windfall tax levy on their profits.

From Catie G

Monday, 7 September 2015

Can someone please answer a very simple question for me? On the request for items to be left at Hebden Town Hall why oh why are all the requested items for men and especially concerning is the request for smart phones with sim cards and there is no need to donate women's or children's items ? I have grave concerns on this request as I feel that there is some thing seriously wrong with this request I have copied the below from an article on Hebweb

Look at this list below all items are mainly for men
Here's a list of what is required is needed at the moment:

Trainers, hiking boots, wellies (only sizes UK 7-9)
Tents (covers, tarpaulins)
Jackets (small and medium only)
Travelling bags
Candles and other lighting
Tracksuit trousers
Jeans (size 28-32)
Smartphones with SIM
Sleeping bag
Soap and shampoo
Plastic bags
Wooly hats

Not needed at the moment:

Women's clothing or shoes
Children's clothing
Nappies, baby wipes, etc
Feminine hygeine products
Suits or formal shoes

From Amanda Hennessy

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Hi Catie. Yours is a reasonable concern if you haven't come across the information regarding this.

The population in the camps in Calais is 90% male. We are told that emergency items for women and children are plentiful and it is not necessary to add to what they already have at this time.

From Ian M

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Which begs the question: Why is the population at Calais 90% male?
That's a very odd percentage wouldn't you say?

From Andrew B

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Excuse my naivety here, but if 90% of migrants in the Jungle are male, where are all the women? There appears to be a distinct lack of women and children involved in this 'refugee' crisis.

Are these people fleeing war/ terror/ persecution, or are some fleeing their wives and hoping for a better life?

I say some, as I'm very clear that there are many people with urgent needs, but as with everything; are some clinging on to benefit from others' misery? Just a thought.

From Chris McCarthy

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

I'd just like to say "Well done!" to the volunteers giving up their time and to all those who are donating to the collection point at the Town Hall. It makes me proud to live in Hebden Bridge.

From Dave Gee

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

I am no great expert and can only repeat what I have read and seen on TV. Many displaced families are living in terrible conditions in refugee camps where they have been without work, hope or much money for many months.

To try to better themselves and their families, younger men are leaving the camps to seek work in Western Europe in order to send money back to their families and hopefully have them join them in the near future.

Others are fleeing for their lives from war.

Whatever their motives they are human beings in need of our help. In the same circumstances what would you do?

From Jenny B

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

My first thoughts as to what would I do? Stay with my family. Take my family with me. Not leave them at risk of rape, persecution murder unprotected by their menfolk. I find particularly galling the request for smartphones and SIM cards! Isn't any phone good enough?

From Catie G

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Jenny B, I completely agree with your response on this subject as you so rightly state wouldnt any phone be suitable. Again, can anyone come up with a reasonable explanation why is a smart phone so necessary? Why not a normal handset? And again where are the women and children?

From Allen Keep

Thursday, 10 September 2015

I haven't got a spare smartphone as it happens (despite tens of thousands being completely discarded in the UK annually) - but if I had, Catie has persuaded me I shouldn't send it anyway. It would clearly be far too good for a Calais camp resident, especially a man who has obviously abandoned his wife and children in the hope of living a wild and carefree life in Britain.

From Caroline M

Thursday, 10 September 2015

On smartphones: if you had no other access to the Internet, and you were living in a dire and dangerous situation, then access to a smartphone would be massively valuable to super very basic needs for information beyond what you can get from those around you. You might see this by considering yourself in a tent without newspapers or Internet and with quite hostile authorities around you.

If you live relatively comfortably in Calderdale with access to Internet and the ability to travel quite freely, then smartphones may seem less needed. It is good to think of others situations though.

There are women and children refugees at Calais, and across Europe. I don't know the family situation of the men there and I would not want to judge without proper evidence whether they had neglectfully left women and children behind - natural justice says you need to prove guilt not innocence. I can see - there is proper evidence that people at Calais are not in a good situation, and I think we have a moral responsibility to help people - even young men - who are in a bad situation. For my part I would like my taxes to support bringing refugees to live in Calderdale.

From Jim W

Thursday, 10 September 2015

With regards to smart phones, how many of you rely on your smart phones when travelling?

I use mine for the following:

GPS Mapping (to find out where I am)
Local currency (so I know I'm not getting ripped off)
Keeping in contact with family and friends without running up huge bills (international calls aren't cheap)

Now put yourself in a person's shoes who is in the hands of the people traffickers and then tell me why you wouldn't want one.

From The Book Case

Thursday, 10 September 2015

If people genuinely want to know why refugees have/ request smartphones (as opposed to just wanting to denigrate people fleeing war and persecution), this article in The Independent is helpful.

"If you had to give up many of your possessions and live on $1,850 a year, after clothes and food, what would you buy next? It is hard to think of a more useful thing to own than a smartphone, especially if you're fleeing your home."

From Dave T

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Whilst all of the above comments are all valid in their own individual right, the question that begs to be asked is 'How would someone get internet access via a smart phone without having a) a monthly contract, or, b) having access to WiFi?

Not wishing to sound disrespectfull, however, surely a monthly contract would be out of the question due to lack of funds and provision of identity to a service provider, so I can only presume that WiFi is provided free in Calais? Can anyone enlighten me please?

From Jim W

Friday, 11 September 2015

Via a pre paid SIM card available nearly everywhere.

From Caroline M

Friday, 11 September 2015

I'm reading this thread while sat on a bus, on a smartphone using an unregistered pay as you go SIM card. No ID required. I would imagine the same would also work in a field on France.

From Bob Deacon

Friday, 11 September 2015

The fact that this thread has shifted from an attempt made by Mike Prior to engage in a serious conversation about how Hebden Bridge might arrange to provide accommodation for a limited number of the refugees fleeing war and persecution into a defence of why refugees might need smart phones is depressing.

There are four ways those sympathetic to the cause of these migrants might help:

a) Donate to the Town Hall materials for those stuck at Calais taking account of the properly researched list of what IS needed including smart phones.

b) Offer to help financially or in person at St Augustine's refugee centre in Halifax.

c) Donate funds to the global refugee authorities.. See advert on Hebweb home page

d) Be prepared to work with Calderdale Council once their offer to the government to take a share of the refugees that Cameron is admitting
is developed into a plan of action. An info page is promised on the Council website. Here, as Mike suggests, the HRTC could play a part in disseminating information.

The Hebden Bridge Partnership at its meeting on Monday offered to help with this when the plans unfolded. Remember, these legally admitted refugees will be vulnerable children and elderly. (I won't enter the debate here about the short sightedness of Cameron in not admitting educated nurses and other professionals!)

From Ian M

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

In light of the last few days events in Germany and many other European countries, the answer to that question is clearly not as many as will try to come if you open your borders!

Schengan agreement suspended, fences being built, borders closed, troops deployed. All this in under a week!

It would appear the Cameron was right to be cautious.

From Jill Chadwick

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Far from any praise for Cameron, surely any genuine questioning should be welcomed as another dimension in expanding all our awareness towards more appropriate action? Is it, for instance possible that we are supporting IS members to attack us?

Why 90% in Calais are young men seems to me a very relevant question. Women, children, elderly, disabled may well have much greater needs than smartphones, not likely to include GPS etc. I still manage without but this hasn't stopped me contributing as best I can. Since we all have different priorities, it would be good to hear women's voices without them being put down by the high percentage of men posting here. . .

From Dave R

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

The debate around a need for refugees to be issued with smartphones is, despite the shout downers, and The Independent, a valid point.

All this tosh about needing to contact family and search for services and jobs is for me, just fiction. The people that most need our help are those refugees wherever/ whatever they have fled from, who need food, clothing, shelter and safety.

I cannot imagine that were I fleeing the horrors of war, that I would leave my wife and family behind, and then issue a demand for a smartphone to contact them!

For those predominantly younger males in Calais, we must then presume that phone signals are good and broadband is still up and running in the areas from which they have 'fled'.

Doesn't that alone confuse you? it does me.

I think we are confusing migrants looking for work and resettlement, with those who had no choice but to flee.

No one has yet responded with a valid point as to why 90% of those we have been asked to help are male, with a need for boots, jeans and smartphones.

I will continue to donate to the local foodbanks and to St Augustine's centre who respond to a 'need' rather than a demand from all genders and ages.

From Allen Keep

Friday, 18 September 2015

I don't recall a demand from anyone for smartphones? Here's a little article that might help people see things from a refugees perspective.

From Michael Prior

Friday, 18 September 2015

Perhaps I could offer a valid explanation.

First, the people involved are mostly not fleeing directly from war-zones but from the dreadful camps set up in Lebanon and Turkey. The families there have raised enough money to send one of their number, usually a young male, through to Europe where it is hoped that they will find a job and be able to send for their families. This applies to the small numbers at Calais whose numbers are now much over-shadowed by the tens of thousands fleeing in Hungary, Croatia etc. There are plenty of women and children amongst these as conditions have become so bad that the single-person option does not exist anymore.

Second, because they come from camps in Lebanon and Turkey, they have the same mobile connection as the local population.

Third, are you all serious about obsessing on phones. These are dirt-cheap throwaway items in our consumer society. The companies entice us with free upgrades then trap us with service charges. I know that some people carry on with the same old Nokia mobile but most don't. Why not then just give the old one away.

I hope that when finally some of these poor people arrive in Halifax that they will receive a better welcome than has so far been displayed on this thread

From Mo Norwood

Friday, 18 September 2015

Calderdale Council has pledged to welcome 50 Syrian refugees to the borough over the next two years.

The St Augustine's Centre in Halifax is the main voluntary sector provider of support for refugees in Calderdale, providing a welcoming and safe place for people. The Centre has launched a fundraising appeal to raise £10,000 by Christmas, and is close to reaching its first milestone of £1000.

You can find out more by following the hashtag ‪#‎helpinghalifax‬ on Twitter.

To donate to the St Augustine's Centre appeal visit this web page or to volunteer at the Centre contact them via email

See also

HebWeb News: Refugee Crisis