Boycott Leicester


Can you pack a rucksack for Calais?

10 May 2018 | last updated: 17 March 2021

UCU supports the charity Care4Calais, to provide direct aid to refugees living in the worst conditions across France and Belgium who do not have access to shelter from the elements, basic sanitation or health facilities, adequate food, clothing or other daily essentials. One of the best ways to help those refugees is to provide ready-made packs that they can easily carry, full of the key essential things they need on a daily basis.

Please support this call to UCU members and branches to collect, prepare and donate essential items for refugees that will be made up into a backpack to be distributed to each refugee.

What items are needed?

A backpack for each refugee (or a drawstring or other bag if backpacks are not available).

Suggested contents:

  • high energy, healthy snacks; dried fruit, nuts, cereal bars, tinned fish or fruit (with a ring pull top)
  • toiletries that are useful for people sleeping rough:  spray deodorant, wet-wipes, toothbrush and toothpaste
  • a small bottle of water
  • refugees don't get to change their clothes, help them to feel fresh; pair of socks, new boxer shorts *, tee shirts*, jogging bottoms (with cuff bottoms because of the mud) or better still a pair of slimfit black jeans**

* for things that are different sizes, it helps if you can attach a label to the pack to say if the pack is for a small, medium or large person. Please note there are more small and medium refugees in France. A common ratio would be 45S:40M:15L
**UCU volunteers at Calais have noted the high demand from young refugees for size 32 slimfit black jeans, just to feel like a normal teenager again.

Where do you send backpacks or collected items?

UCU will be collecting donated items at Congress 2018 so Congress delegates can bring them to the UCU Reception desk at Manchester Central when they register.

The Care4Calais website may list a local collection point, closer to a UCU branch where items collected by the branch can be directly donated [see the Care4Calais website].

Branches close to London can donate items to the reception desk in UCU head office in London.

Other branches may pack their collected items into cartons, which can be collected for transport to head office^. Please contact , National Head of Resources at UCU, to arrange collection of packed cartons of donations.

^Rucksacks collected or packed at Carlow Street will be transported to Care4Calais by regular UCU volunteers to the charity.