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Last Updated: Monday, 26 January, 2004, 08:56 GMT
Asylum group denies handout claims
The charity said any goods given out came from public donations
A charity has spoken out against claims it has used government funding to give out food and clothing to asylum seekers in Calais.

Kent Refugee Action Network (Kran), based in Dover, said allegations made in the Mail on Sunday that it was using taxpayers' money to pay for the handouts were untrue.

The charity, which has received 39,000 from the Home Office to provide a mentoring scheme for people granted refugee status, said any goods given out in Calais came from voluntary donations.

Its volunteers have made three trips across the Channel in the past three months to give away food and clothing not needed for projects in south London and Dover.

What they are doing is providing a very basic minimum of a hot snack each day to people who literally would otherwise be starving
Ben Bano, Kent Refugee Action Network

Kran spokesman Ben Bano said: "This activity is entirely separate from the funding which Kran gets for mentoring asylum seekers who have actually been successful in their applications.

"All the trips to Calais, and there have actually been three in all, have been financed entirely from voluntary donations.

"In fact, the people going over to Calais have paid their own fares.

"I can assure everybody that in fact government money will have gone nowhere near this particular activity."

Mr Bano said the charity's work was only a small contribution compared to the support given to the asylum seekers by similar groups in France.

"What they are doing is providing a very basic minimum of a hot snack each day to people who literally would otherwise be starving," he said.

"We know and the asylum seekers know - the ones who are actually in Calais - that there is no chance of them getting to England."

Mr Bano said no more trips were planned at present because the charity had no more clothing to give away.



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