VOLUNTEERS from Brighton are building a children's centre for refugees at a camp across the Channel.

Three non-profit groups have joined forces to build the centre at the Grande Synthe refugee camp in Dunkirk.

It will include two classrooms, a baby and toddler soft room, outdoor play space and a "safe space" for vulnerable parents.

The project has the backing of Dunkirk Town Council and the charity Medecins Sans Frontieres, but relies on donations for funding.

Education experts from Dunkirk Kids Welfare and Edlumino School will work at the centre and have been working with children in Dunkirk for months.

Darren Hougham, from Brighton Shelter Build, one of the three Brighton groups involved, said: "There are so many children arriving, who are being displaced from their own countries.

"No-one knows how long this situation is going to last for.

"All the children in the refugee crisis are completely innocent.

"They deserve the best care and education and this is one way that we can help provide that for them.

"We have an amazing chance to create a good environment for them."

The centre is being built alongside new shelters and facilities being set up in Grande Synthe by the charity Medecins Sans Frontieres.

The charity hopes its work will alleviate the "appalling" conditions currently faced by thousands of refugees on the site, including hundreds of children.

Brighton Shelter Build had been building shelters at the Calais refugee camp about 40km west, chunks of which French authorities are trying to close.

The other organisations working on the children's centre are Hummingbird and Brighton Bridge.

Dunkirk Kids Welfare said: "The conditions in camp are so dangerous for them that their development is highly likely to be severely stunted during their time there.

"Physical development is very closely linked to brain development and we really wanted to provide somewhere warm, safe and dry for the children to crawl, toddle, jump, dance and play in a way that will allow them to flourish despite the dreadful circumstances they are in.

"When we relocate we are hoping to carry on with our DKW ethos but in a larger and more secure site, where the parents have more opportunity to play alongside their children."

To donate, visit chuffed.org/project/a-school-for-dunkirk