Article from cornwalllive.com, written by Tom Gainey.
A Penzance art collective is fighting to prove that Cornwall cares about those caught up in the European refugee crisis.
Refugee Aid volunteers hope that an auction will raise “vital” funds and believe that now, more than ever, compassion is needed.
“We really want to prove that even down here in Cornwall people care for those caught up in the crisis and want to do anything we can to help”, said Libby Pentreath, who has been co-ordinating the Refugee Aid Pop Up Shop on Market Jew Street in Penzance.
“Yes there’s always negative comments, we even have people come into the shop with negativity but we often find that after some discussion they understand why we’re doing what we’re doing and some have even donated themselves in the end.”
“We’re all just living on a ball, it doesn’t matter where you’re from – most Cornish people will always want to help those in need, it’s horrendous what they’re going through.”
She added that the volunteers have been “overwhelmed” and “reassured” by Cornwall’s generosity since they began raising money.
Refugee Aid will repeat last year’s charity event at The Queens Hotel, Penzance, where saw generous donations of work and bids on more than 140 pieces of art raise a staggering £13,400 which went to projects in Turkey, Greece, Doctors without Borders and their own organisation to fund projects in France.
Organiser Tamzin Wood said: “Last year’s auction hosted by David Lay was extremely successful.”
“This year’s auction promises a repeat of a fun evening where bargains were had, there were a range of pieces to suit everyone and pockets were sold out.
Last year’s effort was a roaring success: Tamzin Wood, Bill Goodyear and Jonty Henshall hold artwork donated by Jess Cooper which was auctioned along with other art.
“It will feature original cartoons from Jeremy ‘Banx’ Banks of Financial Times and Punch fame, works by Jonty Henshall, Julia Kerrison Fine Art, Beth Gregory Ceramics, Rod Walker [The Penwith Society], Jason Liosatos [Gallery Artist in Residence at Tapeley Park] and many more.”
The pieces are all currently on display on their Facebook page.
Cornish generosity is being sought to help send toys and life-saving supplies to Syria
Refugee Aid was able to sponsor the Youth Centre in the Calais Jungle in an ongoing capacity through last year’s event as well as the Dunkirk Primary School -now a children’s centre, and still being funded – and regularly sent aid and other donated contributions.
Co-organiser Emma Lankford said: “We’re working locally, but thinking globally.”
“This has been a massive effort from all involved to raise vital funds to help those caught up in the crisis, just like last year.
“It will be difficult but we’re hoping to improve on our previous success, a lot of effort has gone in from a lot of people and we’ve already had interest on some lots.”
The organisation also shipped aid to Greece, funded projects in Turkey, financially supported medical buildings and sent general volunteers over to France and Greece to work in refugee camps.
At present time Refugee Aid is working on a new project pending to export container schools in association with the Fonthill Foundation.
Tamzin Wood and Emma Lankford with some of the artwork that will be auctioned at The Queens Hotel to raise money for Refugee Aid.
Refugee Aid volunteers ran a Pop Up Shop on Market Jew Street this year which sold high quality donations to raise money to help the refugee crisis in Europe
Despite the eviction of the Calais camp Refugee Aid say the crisis has only deepened and believe there is plenty of humanitarian work to be done across Europe.
Jonty Henshall, organiser and artist said: “Now, more than ever, compassion is needed”.
David Lay will once again be auctioning the lots and the Refugee Aid Facebook page will also be taking pre-auction bids for those who are unable to attend.
The event is free to attend and the auction will begin at 7pm on December 10 at the Queens Hotel.
There will also be live entertainment from Foxes Fair and alcohol & soft drinks from the licensed bar.