Givergy are renowned for helping charities across the globe raise more for their incredible causes through cutting-edge auction technology. However, Givergy have never shied away from an opportunity to physically make a difference. Whether it’s taking part in the Palace-to-Palace charity cycle ride across London to raise more for unemployed young people or climbing Kilimanjaro to help save lives in Africa.
When founders of Givergy Julian Sykes and Will Walsh were presented with the opportunity to spend a week in the Calais jungle to help make a difference, they jumped at the chance.
We sat down with the head of the company to get a more detailed account of their unforgettable experience.
What did you expect before you arrived?
Will: Thanks to the generosity and kindness of our 3 local state schools we (Julian and I) were delighted to take a pretty much full van of clothes and food to the Calais jungle last week
We arrived not knowing what to expect at the warehouse of Care4Calais on Monday around 5pm. Apprehensive, we were quickly put at ease as a human line formed out the back of our van to unload our offering. Greeted with genuine joy by the team, the clothes joined two large warehouses of the same; an amount that seemed so large, I wondered whether there was really a need for any more?”
What did your first day of work at the camp look like?
Will: Arriving 9am sharp to our first day of work Tuesday morning we were told that their second van had broken down and could we use ours to enter the jungle for 'distribution'. An hour later I'm driving the van into a wet and muddy Glastonbury type affair, acutely aware that a slip or otherwise would not just bring down a tent but someone's much valued, albeit makeshift, home.
Distributing the food and clothes is a military affair, requiring no less than 8 people to act as the walls, the gate and the sellers. This is scientific stuff! And the recipients - well, as soon as you see the first person's gratitude, you know you're in the right place. This is why I've come. This is why you've given. Because these are ordinary people, like you and me, who have fled their homes and travelled hundreds of miles, experienced real trauma and who are now looking at you, smiling and grateful.
Who and what else is making a difference at the camp?
Will: We did 4 distributions over the next 2 days, we drank tea in their cafe, some of us even watched Shakespeare on their stage. Spanish Anna, Iranian Armon, Italian Fed, Irish Morris, English Tom and founders John and Claire shared one thing; they've all come from the UK to help out. And safe to say they're doing a much needed and brilliant job. Giving a community some respect, helping them in some small way as our governments sit by and leave them in abeyance. It turns out the warehouses are cleared in about a week and so the food is needed, men's jackets, trousers and shoes highly prized. Help is good at the weekends but go there during the week for a few days and you'll be much appreciated and you'll likely appreciate the experience.
Will Walsh Founder and CEO of Givergy