Fifteen child refugees who had been staying at the Calais ‘jungle camp’ have been resettled in Waltham Forest with foster families.
Waltham Forest Council confirmed that the children seeking asylum had found a new home in the borough following the Calais camp’s destruction by the French government over the last fortnight.
The council did not confirm, however, which countries the children had fled from, and whether or not their resettlement forms part of the UK government’s five-year Syrian refugee programme – which aims by 202 to move 20,000 refugees from the war-torn country to the UK.
Council leader Chris Robbins said: “Waltham Forest’s foster carers have been absolutely magnificent. Five of our carers went so far as to volunteer to accept emergency placements from some of the coaches arriving last weekend, which carried some children judged too vulnerable to be temporarily placed in central reception centres.
“The foster carers had no prior information about the children and in most cases could not speak the same language. Our fantastic foster carers have really come through for these young people, and as a result the children we’ve placed with carers have said they felt welcomed and were relieved to be in a family home after months of being afraid and lonely.”
Walthamstow Migrant Action Group was among those welcoming the news. Canon Steve Saxby, who helped establish the group last year, said: “‘It is indeed excellent news that Waltham Forest Council has accommodated 15 children from Calais in the borough.
“Let’s hope next that it will make good on its promise to welcome ten Syrian families from the UN refugee camps. The community stands ready to help and welcome more refugees.”
Included in the 15 placements were three children who the council was able to reunite with family members already living in Waltham Forest. Social workers are currently assessing what further support they will need going forward.
With more children continuing to arrive in the UK from Calais, the council says it still “desperately” needs more foster carers. Carers have 24-hour access to social worker support, extensive training, and a rewards package that includes up to a 60 percent council tax discount and free membership at any of the council’s leisure centres.
A fostering information session is being hosted by the council at 6.30pm on Thursday 10th November, at Waltham Forest Town Hall, Forest Road, Walthamstow E17 4JF.
To find out more about becoming a foster carer: