Dunkirk: inside the unseen camps

Children laugh and play with a pushchair in the Grand-Synthe camp Credit: ITV Yorkshire

At first glance, the Grand-Synthe camp is not dissimilar to a campsite you might find anywhere. Row after row of tents arranged around a field where children play, with some very basic toilet facilities. But this is no holiday. The tents and their contents are all these families have.

A child plays with toy cars in the Grand-Synthe camp Credit: ITV Yorkshire

We’re just 30 miles from the notorious Calais Jungle, but this is an entirely different set-up. Children play with the few possessions they have - a pushchair, toy cars, and the balloons brought in by the charity to lift the mood for the evening. We meet a woman who is seven months pregnant. Her husband pleads with us to help them.

People hurry to clear away the piles of unwanted clothes we see on our arrival Credit: ITV Yorkshire

We're here to follow as a charity serves a dinner for the 300 people who live in the camp. An orderly queue forms as the residents take charge of serving the vats of curry and rice.

With a hot meal in sight, the mood is brighter Credit: ITV Yorkshire

As the food is served, it seems this camp might be a friendlier place than the vast Jungle shanty town. But we've been told that people traffickers operate here, and notice clusters of men watching on from a distance, surveying the evening's events. They know that these families are desperate to reach the UK, either to escape persecution, or simply for what they believe will be a better life for their children. In days to come, some will risk everything to achieve that dream.