The Seasalter Christian Centre gave over space for the sorting and temporary storage of a donation of over 100 boxes. Working in partnership with Kent County Council, The Seasalter Christian Centre in Whitstable gave over space for the sorting and temporary storage of a donation of over 100 boxes of items destined for the three Child Assessment Centres currently looking after unaccompanied asylum seeking children in Kent: Ladesfield in Whitstable, Millbank in Ashford and Appledore Centre in Swattenden.
Keith Berry Together Canterbury Development Worker, and Shuna Body Kent County Council Community Liaison Officer for Canterbury and Dover, who is also a Non-Stipendary Minister in the diocese, took delivery of the generous donation which came from Hillsong Church which is based in Kent and London.
The gift was delivered by Pastor Grant Erskine of Hillsong’s Tonbridge Campus and contained 118 boxes of DVDs, games, sports equipment, books and stationery. As well as going to the centres the goods will be distributed to the many looked-after children in the council’s care.
Keith Berry said the generosity of the church was overwhelming: “We’re so grateful to all the wonderful people at Hillsong Church who donated, sorted and boxed the items, as well as Seasalter Christian Centre who have given the delivery a temporary home until it is distributed.”
Gratitude is also offered to Brookland Church in the Romney Marsh who have also worked with the council to allow the temporary storage of goods for the centres.
There are just under 900 unaccompanied asylum seeking children in the care of Kent County Council. Peter Oakford, Kent County Council Cabinet Member for Specialist Children’s Services commented on peoples’ overall response to the situation:
“Many churches have called offering to provide volunteers or items young people might need, individuals have approached us offering items they can donate or even offering a room and many teachers, foster carers and football coaches have offered their services.
“It is humbling to know there are so many incredibly kind people and organisations willing to help these young people who arrive in our country seeking refuge.”
While it is still possible to donate some items, people are strongly encouraged to contact Kent County Council first before sending or buying goods. Offers from people wishing to volunteer their time, those who have access to vans, and particularly those willing to explore fostering would also be welcome. Please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
The diocese has recently compiled a tool kit offering five ways which people can respond to the refugee crisis: https://www.canterburydiocese.org/refugee-crisis-five-ways-to-respond/