For many years DHST has worked closely with the Football Club to build bridges between cultures and communities to ensure that all in our community feel welcome at Champion Hill. For several years we have worked to encourage LGBTQ+ fans to make Dulwich Hamlet their club of choice; held events to mark International Women's Day and given away thousands of free match tickets to local community groups and schools. As a result of this work, the club has received numerous awards which most recently included the Mayor of Southwark’s Discretionary Award (2018) and the Football Supporters' Association award for Community Club of the Year 2019.
Back in September 2015 the Trust encouraged members and fans to help with a collection for the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Calais and Jack Spearman and Dave Rogers (who were serving on the Trust Board at the time) planned to travel to Calais to deliver supplies and little did we realise this was going to be the largest community project we would tackle!
The Trust set a target to raise £2,000 which would help us to deliver donations to Calais and buy further appropriate supplies, as directed by the charities working on the ground in Calais, to meet the most immediate and pressing requirements of those in need. To say we were overwhelmed by the amount of support we received for our Calais Aid appeal was an understatement!
Due to the sheer volume of donations we received, when we arranged a collection on a match day at Champion Hill, we then had to co-ordinate an evening in the club house to sort through the donations received.
On the night, a staggering 50+ volunteers turned up at to help. In all, we received over 40 tents, boxes and boxes of non-perishable food, sleeping bags, camping equipment, shoes, toiletries, and a huge amount of warm winter clothing. You name it, the people of Dulwich and surrounding areas delivered it! The next question was where were we to store it?
Thankfully local businesses were also willing to help us and we secured storage until the volunteers could make their trip to Calais.
In October 2015 a small group of volunteers drove to the Calais refugee camp with the donations. Not all Items could be taken to Calais, the ones that couldn’t were taken to local charity shops, Brixton and Norwood foodbank and the Salvation Army refugee centre. So not only did everyone’s generosity help those in Calais, it benefited the local community as well.
A video, published in the Guardian, featuring interviews with fans can be viewed here.