The Brighton Shelter Build Project

By The Brighton Shelter Build Project

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Welcome to our page! We are a team of volunteers who produce flat packed shelters for refugee camps and we'd love you to help us to continue our work.

*PROJECT UPDATE* Given the current situation with the proposed demolition of parts of the Calais camp we've decided to focus our efforts in Dunkirk and have had permission to build a permanent school building in the new camp there. To continue spending donated money in the best possible way to have immwdiate impact on the lives of the refugees in France, some of the funds donated through this page will be transferred to our sister project. There's more info on this fantastic project here

The majority of the shelters we have erected in Calais are in the north section of the camp and are not at risk of demolition at this point. There are provisions in place for the relocation of shelters from the southern part of the camp.

There is an estimated 6000 people living in appalling conditions in northern France. Women, men and children are fleeing from conflicts in Syria, Iraq and North Africa seeking safety but, with little government help, they are forced to live in awful conditions. Winter is here and it’s of massive importance that these people are given the opportunity to get out of tents, off the wet ground an into dry, warm and secure shelters as soon as possible and we'd really appreciate your help!

The Brighton Shelter Build Project has been set up to provide weatherproof structures for the most vulnerable people in the refugee camps of northern France. Our goals is that everyone in the camps will eventually have access to these or similar shelters.

The project has been set up by Darren Hougham, along with Tom and Lucy Keeling, a couple who have been actively building on the ground in Calais for CalAid. During their visits to the camps they realised that more could be done away from Calais to speed up the build process. By constructing flat pack shelters in Brighton and having them shipped over in kit form directly into the camps saves time and valuable resources onsite as well as utilises volunteers in the UK who might not necessarily be able to make the trip to France.

When the kits arrive onsite our close links to the volunteers of the Hummingbird Project and CalAid ensure that every shelter goes to the people who need them most. Unique to other build projects currently running in Calais, our kits are specifically designed to be able to be constructed from scratch by teams of refugees supervised by our experienced build volunteers on the ground. This empowers the local population, gives them pride in their new shelters as well as helps to strengthen the local community. We’re hoping that in time, this method will be replicated elsewhere to benefit refugees all over Europe.

The shelter kits contain all the tools and fixings required to build the shelter as well as a lockable door, fire extinguisher and a wind up light for added safety and security. We have had advice from South East Fire Service and use naturally fire retardant insulation to minimise risk of fire.

The first £2400 we raised went towards setting up this project and our first 10 shelters arrived in Calais on Sunday 6th Dec, put up over 2 days and now house 50 refugees. We also sent one shelter to the new and very basic site in Dunkirk where it is now home to a young mother with 2 very young babies. The video below shows how we got on.

Our second trip took us back out to Calais on Dec 18th and 6 shelters went up housing 26 people. Here's a video from the trip.

Trip number three on January 22 saw us bring out a further 13 bringing the project total to 30 shelters housing more than 130 refugees and here's the video from that adventure.

Due to some amazing links we've made with local suppliers, it costs just £250 in materials to provide everything required for 1 shelter to house up to 6 people.

We're now asking for funds to finance materials and transport for our next trip planned for the second week of February. We're hoping to deliver a van full of shelters but also bring extra materials and help repair and fix up some of the leaking, uninsulated and bad quality builds that are onsite.

Your donations are all we need to get more shelters out to the people who need them most. Your help is very much appreciated!


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Team Members

Darren Hougham