During the harsh winter of 2015/16, Geoff Motyer and Martin Grady, identified an urgent need for firewood to enable refugees to both cook food and keep warm. They ordered slabs of wood and delivered them straight to where it was needed, using a van and a trailer.
In January/February, Refugee Community Kitchen (RCK) teamed up with the Woodyard, who had added Josh Williams and James Turner to its ranks, to build community kitchens. In March, Ben Horne became manager of the team, as they continued to work out of a small marquee with a handful of power tools.
In April, Calais Woodyard’s first vehicle was acquired transforming the operation. A huge marquee tent that had been previously used by Ashram Kitchen was lent to Calais Woodyard by Ian Wood. This allowed the installation of fixed power tools and the increased production that came with them.
By May, Calais Woodyard had teamed with Calais Kitchens, an organisation that provided dry food to refugees, and together the two pioneered a ticketed distribution system. The camp was divided into 5 main areas and every refugee is supplied with food and firewood once a week, with community kitchens being supplied on a 6th day.
From its starting point as a couple of men in the mud round the back of a warehouse, to the professional woodyard that produced and distributed over 300 tonnes of firewood, Calais Woodyard is an incredible overachiever with plans to expand and improve still further!