Simon Miles our Podiatrist/ Chiropodist is taking part in The Foot Project Calais; here he explains what it is all about.
Here is a brief outline of The Foot Project - Calais. We are holding the first of a number of clinics planned for January 2016 at the migrant camp in Calais. This is due to the massive demand for foot related healthcare issues that are occurring from poor sanitation and basic facilities. Some of these people have travelled and in many cases walked over 2000 miles to get to where they are today. Caught between returning to a war torn country and starting a new life their situation is desperate.
“This project began when a friend of mine who is working for a charity at the camp asked me to come down and help. I knew I could do one better than just me. My brain got ticking which is when THE FOOT PROJECT was born. I quickly utilized social media and put up a Facebook page within 12 hours there were nearly 150 likes all from the podiatry community. The next step was to ask if anyone was interested…. I then had 40 offers of physical help from people wanting to come down to the project and a further 30 offers and sympathizers who wanted to assist with donations. After 1 week the Facebook posts had reached over 8000 people. I couldn’t believe how many people were interested. It was at this point I knew I had some organising on my hands. I acquired the use of a local house to put the impending workforce up and went from there “explains Simon.
The Project is taking 10 persons down to “the Jungle” as it known to hold a pop up clinic from the 24-26th Jan 2016 (for the initial project, future dates to be decided after this project). We will mostly be taking fully qualified podiatrists but also we have decided to open up some of the space for students to get involved. We felt this was too great a learning opportunity for those starting their career to discount them from the experience to make a huge difference to people’s lives. Our aim is make a difference to the migrant population in need, inspire student podiatrists as to what a fulfilling and worthwhile profession this is, but also raising the profile of the issues and situation occurring in this camp so others will get involved.
We have been given support from some many individuals but two companies in particular have shown massive support and donated consumables. These being Cuxson Gerrard and Renova Medical. We are currently in discussions with a shoe company to donate footwear, which hopefully will come off. We are also running a sock collection to distribute when we are down there.
All volunteers have given up their valuable time in full time jobs to commit to The Foot Project free of charge (what great people). The Foot Project is completely run by charitable donations and we are aiming to raise £2000 to cover the costs of running the clinics. Any money left over will be used for a future clinic dates in Calais after this initial project. We understand this is a difficult time to extract donations from anyone but any donations of any amount will make a difference to people’s lives.