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Islanders to build shelter for refugees in Calais 'jungle'

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A TEAM of builders from the Island were due in Calais today to begin work on one of the biggest projects the Jersey Calais Refugee Aid Group has been involved in.

Four vans full of materials donated by Normans Ltd travelled across to the French port town last night, and volunteers were due to begin work today on a shelter that could house up to 30 refugees and migrants.

The trip is being organised by Evan Smith, a member of JCRAG, which has been organised several aid trips to Calais. He went there earlier this week to set up the project, and he was due to fly over again yesterday with three more workmen.

Jersey Calais Refugee Aid Group member Evan Smith meets one of the refugees at the 'Jungle' camp in Calais

'We are taking four vans over with materials. Normans have donated a whole load of timber that we should be able to use to build a shelter for 20 or 30 people. There are three builders coming over this weekend for the first trip. They are from Beau Construction. Next week some guys from Jackson Lowe Construction will be coming over,' said Mr Smith, who is a director at J S Livingston Architectural Services.

Earlier this week 200 Islanders attended a debate at the Town Hall to discuss Jersey's response to the migrant crisis across Europe. Chief Minister Ian Gorst has suggested that Jersey could accommodate five or six Syrian families, a move opposed by a number of Islanders.

Teacher Bram Wanrooij, founder of JCRAG, said that this was the biggest convoy the team had sent over to date. He added that the shelter was intended to protect refugees in the Calais camp – known as 'the Jungle' – from the winter weather.

Speaking from France, Mr Smith said: 'We are lucky that it is sunny at the moment, but it will start to get cold soon. I have never seen anything like this – it is like something off an aid video. I think it is disgusting that this can happen in Europe.

Bram Wanrooij addressing the audience at the Business Connect debate about the refugee crisis

'When I was there on Thursday, 28 more kids arrived in the camp and they are some of the sweetest kids you could ever meet.'

Anyone interested in supporting the charity can attend a movie night at the Arts Centre on 19 October.

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