Croydon Refugee Day Centre

16 GoodGymers have supported Croydon Refugee Day Centre with 11 tasks.

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Upcoming sessions
Lets change clothes

Tuesday 4th October 20226:45pm - 8:30pm

Previous sessions

Red is the new Black

Tuesday 6th September

Written by Kate Bowden

Last night 6 Good Gymers traversed 2km along Croydon's Streets to help the Croydon Refugee Day Centre sort through their donations.

With three of our runner's leg's fresh from the Big Half on Sunday, it was at a gentle pace we warmed up and set off down the road to the Refugee Day Centre. Although the rain had been blowing down in waves earlier, we were fortunate to have missed the worst of it and arrived with dry raincoats. Ivanka met us with a new task for the evening. Clothes, shoes, hats, gloves and scarfs in all sizes had been packed into boxes and onto rails, and it was our job to move them all into the back room leaving the main hall open for new lights to be installed. We carried the boxes through to the back room first, then attempted the jigsaw challenge of returning them to the right shelves so everything would be easy to find next time. Next came the rails on wheels which we expertly formed into a train and drove into the cupboard. Ivanka was amazed that we were able to pack everything up in less than an hour, and we were amazed that so many donations could fit in such a small space!

Join us next week as we head Back to School at Tunstall Nursery.

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Two Two Two and Two-sday

Tuesday 22nd February

Written by Kate Bowden

This evening 8 runners ran 1.5km to do good at the Croydon Refugee Day Centre.

After the storms of the past few days, we were pleased for some milder weather tonight. A straight forward run from our start point, Ros and Ingrid acted as the back markers but were not slowed down by the weight of the clothes donations they had brought along to give to the centre tonight. We met with Ivanka who was very pleased to see us. There were two tasks for us to do at the centre today, one was to return the clothes which had not been given out today to the rails after first making sure they had a size label to make it easier for the volunteers next time. The other was to hang up donations of school uniforms and make sure these were labelled and sorted by size as well. The table was piled high with clothes and it was very satisfying to see it empty and the rails looking a lot fuller by the time we left.

We took a moment to celebrate twosday today at 20:22 22.02.2022 before running back.

Join us next week when we will be Tidying up the Nursery.

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GoodGym Croydon we can sort it

Tuesday 1st February

Written by Conroy


Last night we welcomed Caroline to her first group, however it was her 7th good deed, she was busy doing coach runs however that was halted due to the pandemic, we also welcomed Catherine who has amassed a whopping 242 good deeds with GoodGym Haringey and has now now moved South of the river and has changed her home area to Croydon.

We ran, 2.6km, to assist Croydon Refugee Day Centre, were the lovely Ivanka is always happy to have our help and last night she was even more excited as there more helpers this time around. Invanka explained what she had for us to do and showed us the guides regarding whats items of clothing should be placed where that was stuck to the pillars and walls.

There was a mountain of coats that needed to be placed on hangers and put on a rack, there were a lot of donation bags to sort through. As usual the kind folks who donated don't always think that some stuff they put in the bags are not needed but it was up to us to sort through and keep what could be regifted from what couldn't.

There were new things old things, dirty thing, clean things, there were costumes, short things and long things, shinny sparkling things.

Sorting through the various bags and seeing some of the things being donated did make us chuckle and wonder how much thought went into filling the bags because some of the stuff being donated is not what you would expect to see folks walking on the street wearing but its the thought that counts and at least they made a donation to someone without.

All in all we got through a lot of the bags had a few giggles, while getting the job done.

Come and join us next week we'll be out doing good again in the community sign up here.

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We did over 70kg despite our size

Tuesday 11th January

Written by Conroy

Happy New Year all.

Its the start of 2022, and we are back to pick up where we left off last year by doing what we do best in our local community, get fit by doing good.

Last night 5 of us met at Solution before heading over to Croydon Refugee Day Centre to assist them with the generous donations received from members of the community over the festive period.

The rain was drizzling but after a bit of chatter and finding out what others got up to over the holidays we headed out into the rain to run half mile down the road to Croydon Refugee Day Centre, where Ivanka was awaiting our arrival.

Last nights' task was to bag up items of clothing that were not suitable for the users of the centre to be sold to a clothes recycling company. For each bag of 10kg they receive £2, the money received is then used to buy toiletries and other essentials for the users of the centre.

There was an array of items that were donated from designer clothes to old beat out cycling shoes and even used underwear, come on I know they meant well when packing the bags but why would some donate their old underwear?!

Two of the bags of clothing donated really stood out as each was labeled with a list of items in the bag and the sizes, you could see a lot of thought and effort went into packing those bags and they were things that although old to the previous owner still had life in them for someone who had nothing.

Between the 5 of us we managed to fill over 7 bags which would be sold for £14-£16, which to some of us wouldn't seem like very much but to the folks at Croydon Refugee Day Centre it goes a long way in helping them to assist the refugees they come into contact with that rely on the aid they provide.

Croydon Refugee Day Centre is alway looking for volunteers and donations so if you or a loved one is about to change up your wardrobe in preparation for the next season do bear them in mind. Donations of clothes and shoes that still have some life in them will be gratefully received (they particularly need menswear)

If you would like details of how to get in touch regarding volunteering or how to make donations get in touch with me and I can pass on Ivanka's details.

Come and join us next week as we head over to St Augustines' for some gardening sign up here

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Shopping spree

Tuesday 14th December 2021

Written by Conroy

Tis the season to be jolly..........

Last night we went back to help out at the Croydon Refugee Day Centre (CRDC), but instead of jogging there were took a nice stroll as a member of the group is currently injured and instead of letter her walk to the task by herself we walked with her.

When we arrived at the Centre Ros was there with her bag of donations, well done Ros nice to see someone else reads my run report last week. Ian was not with us this week but after reading the report last he dropped me an email commenting on how well the report captured what we did along with the work of Croydon Refugee Day Centre. Extra cheers for Ros and Ian.

This week were were given a clipboard with a list of items sent on a shopping spree, but before we head of Ivanka gave us a quick run though of where where we should look for the items.

For those who have seen supermarket sweep, its exactly like that without the trolleys and we were not being being timed. We completed all our list and had time to do some sorting and re-stack some of the clothes rails.

CRDC are always looking for volunteers so if you have some spare time one day do get in touch and I'll pass your details onto Ivanka.

CRDC are always looking for donations on behalf of the people they support, mens clothes are alway in demand if you have some unwanted clothes that is still wearable please remember CRDC. Below is a bit about the people CRDC helps put together by Ivanka.

First a little background info about the refugee ‘situation’. Where do refugees come from: Syria 27% (6.7million) Venezuela 16% 4.0
Afghanistan 11% 2.6 S. Sudan 9% 2.2 Myanmar 5% 1.1 Others 32% 7.9 73% of refugees are hosted in neighbouring countries and 86% refugees are hosted in developing countries. Top hosting countries: Turkey 3.7 million Colombia 1.7 Pakistan 1.4 Uganda 1.4 Germany 1.2 In Europe in yr ending June21: Germany 113,625 applied for asylum France 87,180 “ Spain 67,405 “ UK 37,235 “ When you arrive in UK you are called an Asylum Seeker (AS). You are put in a hostel but because of covid creating huge backlogs some AS are put in hotels – but even if the hotel is say 3* the service and food won’t be! Once you have had a first interview and you are told that you can be classified as an AS you get £8 a week per person. This is a new payment as AS historically never had to spend months or even a year or so in an asylum initial accommodation hostel/hotel. They would be moved into some sort of self-catering accommodation. Once they are moved into either a shared house (perhaps a mother and child sharing with another mother and child or several single adults sharing one house and sometimes rooms) or self-contained flat or house for most families the family must pay all food, clothing, school uniform, transport, phone and many small expenses out of £ 39 pw that each accepted AS will receive. After a second interview they may get Refugee status. This is when many can become homeless as they then have 28 days before they have to leave their Asylum accommodation. In that 28 days they need to get an NI Number, save for a deposit for a room, sign on for UC (takes 5 to 6 weeks but for a Refugee it takes longer as they cannot do everything online - Biometric card cannot be scanned onto UC site, find a job and get a bank account. Totally impossible. At time of writing it takes up to 16 weeks to acquire an NI Number. Having been round many banks with new Refugees getting a bank account takes months, except that recently we have found some internet only banks more approachable. Discrimination regarding accommodation slows finding accommodation unless a refugee can find friends of friends/own community to help with a room.

What do we do at Croydon Refugee Day Centre (CRDC)? We are currently helping between 150 and 180 people each week (Tuesday mornings) outside in the open giving out clothes and a little signposting. We deliver to others during the week. Most of these people are Asylum Seekers and have arrived in UK usually with only the clothes they are wearing. We also give clothes to various homeless people who are not Asylum Seekers or refugees. We give some household items such as bedding, pans, etc when we can. We receive donated goods mainly on a Monday morning, from 9am to 1pm.

We give basic food parcels and toiletries to people who are in self-catering accommodation and to local homeless men. Trying to source enough warm clothes such as waterproof anoraks, jumpers and waterproof shoes, especially for men, is extremely difficult and takes a lot of work - begging!

We have to sort and then throw out many of the clothes we are given as they are not suitable in some way. We do get a little money for each bag of rags. Sorting and then putting useful clothes in the correct place is an ongoing task. We always buy new underwear and try to give at least some new socks. We often have to buy gloves for all, and hats and scarves for men. We buy some new shoes and joggers when we have the money and can find cheap ones that are waterproof. Many of our AS will be ‘dispersed’ around the country at some stage, often to cheaper accommodation in the North of England, or Wales or Scotland.

People can wait many years for a decision regarding about being given Refugee status. So, during these years their lives are on hold, they cannot work nor, usually, study. There is an awful feeling of not knowing what will happen to one, that one’s life is in limbo and that one has no control. Many people suffer from depression. Plus, they think of family left behind or family who have been killed or are missing. Children are luckier. They may get into schools quickly or at least within 6 months. This opens up a whole new world to them. We have fantastic volunteers who help find schools, school uniforms and help get zip oyster cards for older school children. Getting free school meals is sometimes a big problem. Nothing is streamlined or easy.

Pre-Covid we existed as a drop-in centre serving hot meals and lots of vegetables and salads. We gave out some clothes, did some signposting and distributed food parcels. The Centre was a buzz of happy conversation, providing a friendly place where new and old Asylum Seekers would meet for free and get to know people from all countries and the UK for support and friendship. This seems like a distant dream. People need friendship and kind words as much as clothes but providing the former is rarely possible because of covid restrictions.

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Bag it, donate it, we’ll sort it

Tuesday 7th December 2021

Written by Conroy

Not very often we get an indoor task over in Croydon, also its been over a year since we last had a new task to attend, so when Care4Calis (C4C) contacted me asking for our help at Croydon Refugee Day Centre I was hastily accepted.

Despite the weather warnings, the heavy rainfall and strong winds earlier in the day 6 members of GoodGym Croydon were brave enough to attend the group run and we were rewarded with a break in the storm for us to run to our task to spread the GoodGym cheer to a new organisation.

Croydon Refugee Day Centre is less than a mile from our start location so when we arrive our host was not there as yet, dreading this was going to be another no show I telephoned her to inform her we were at the door, she apologised and informed me that she was 10 mins away. As we awaited Ivanka's arrival we entertained ourself with that good old squat routine to "Bring Sally Up", some jumping jacks and lunges. Just after we had finished our fitness routine Ivanka arrived and led us into the building, she gave us a quick tour while explaining what she would like us to do and where to place different items we came across in the donation bags.

We began sorting out the donations in the bags onto an empty table into stuff that was clean and wearable, you would not believe some of the things that are donated. Some that can be passed onto to others to use and some that CRDC will sell onto companies that buy old unwanted clothes. The money raised from the bags of unwanted clothes is used to buy basic essentials for for the refugees they help, some who have been in temporary housing and because they are asylum seekers have no recourse to government funding or able to get a job. Listening to Ivanka talk about the people they help and the support they offer makes me realise the things I sometimes take for granted, but glad I am in a position to help.

Next week we'll be heading back to Croydon Refugee Day Centre where Ivanka promised us we won't be spending the entire evening sorting out the clothes and she's also offered us a full tour of the building too, why not come along? If you would like to donate to the Croydon Refugee Day Centre, they are currently seeking mens clothing. Ladies check with your male relatives if they have any unwanted or surplus winter clothes they are no longer wearing, gents have you got a jumper, coat or trousers you can donate? Check your wardrobes and walk with an item or two pieces of clothing the distance to the Croydon Refugee Day Centre is less than a mile we can run with a few bags. Signup Here

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