Can the business community in the West of England help with the Refugee Crisis?
All of our social media streams, the news on TV, the radio are filled with images of little Aylan washed up dead on a beach. Suddenly, the tide has begun to turn and immigrants have once again become human beings in need of our help in the eyes of the public, and the wider Bristol community has responded overwhelmingly:
A facebook group called Calais Refugee Solidarity Bristol has emerged where over 3000 people have already signed up and coordinating drops of supplies to Calais. The group is growing significantly daily and now they urgently need more storage space for donations that are overflowing (please get in touch with them directly if you or your organisation can help!).
More and more Bristol landlords are signing up to help house Syrian refugees via the Citizens UK campaign.
Local creative sector freelancers and companies are congregating online to see how they can help the online effort, http://www.refugees-welcome.net/, in Germany matching refugees in need of shared housing with people with spare rooms in their flats and houses.
More creatives are gathering behind Bristol Refugee Rights alongside Clarke Willmott and others in the West of England Initiative to help keep this issue on the agenda as instability in the world continues to displace innocents from their homes and their livelihoods, not just from Syria but from all over the world.
Bristol is a city of sanctuary, and we are not strangers to the needs of those fleeing terror and hunger with their families. But to add to this picture, Europe as a whole is facing a shortage of babies to fuel the next working generation. And so, even though many are helping because it’s the right thing to do, our new neighbours in need will in turn provide a much needed boost in the economy if allowed to do so. As business leaders, we are in the best position to lead by example, both in terms of shorter term aid and also longer term strategies. If you and your organisation are doing something to help refugees in need of help then it would be really great to know about. Don’t be modest as your actions will inspire others, and in this climate, the need for more support shows no sign of abating…