Devon to host temporary respite facility for young refugees

Posted on: 23 October 2016

Devon is to host a temporary Home Office respite facility for vulnerable young refugees arriving from Calais.

Emergency accommodation for up to 70 young people leaving the refugee camp in Calais has been secured in Devon ahead of its imminent closure by the French Government.

The UK Government has made clear its intention to transfer children and young people from the camp.

The purpose of the temporary facility in Devon is to provide a safe and welcoming place to accommodate the young people before they are reunited with family members or moved to other parts of the country.

Devon County Council as lead agency for the safety and protection of children in Devon is working with the police, NHS and other local authorities across Devon to support the Home Office.

cllr-james-mcinnesThe Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for children, Cllr James McInnes, said:

“These will be vulnerable young people. They will be frightened and they will be exhausted, and we as an authority have a statutory responsibility to support those that present in Devon.

“We are working with all our partners across the county to support the Home Office as part of this emergency response. These vulnerable young people’s privacy should be respected, as they are supported to help rebuild their lives.”

It is not known how many young people will require temporary accommodation in Devon, but in discussion with the Home Office, the Devon facility is to provide a safe place for up to 70 vulnerable refugee children and young people. The accommodation, care provision, security and other arrangements are being commissioned directly via the Home Office.

10 comments on “Devon to host temporary respite facility for young refugees

  1. alfie allweather says:

    it is very possible that amongst these young men are isis fghters,rapists and terrorists ……a lot of them are not “vulnerable”in the slightest and pose a major threat…

  2. Simon Uden says:

    As a father with primary school age children I really hope Devon will be able to offer these poor kids a welcoming and loving start. But I am worried that they will be locked away and be made to feel like prisoners in secured institutions. I hope Devon County Council will do all they can to support and integrate these poor and traumatised children into our schools and communities as soon as they are able.

    • Hi Simon. Thank you for your comments and the sentiment behind them. It’s actually unlikely that most of the young people will be at the temporary facility for long. It’s purpose is to provide temporary accommodation before they are reunited with their UK families or they move on to more permanent arrangements elsewhere. In the meantime, we are aware that there is a good deal of local support and good will for the young people concerned.

  3. Sarah says:

    I am very happy to hear Devon is helping these young refugees. I hope everyone will welcome these young people with open arms, they need all the support they can get after what have undoubtedly been uncertain, traumatic times. Let’s offer the help that we would like to receive if the situation were reversed.

  4. Laurence Greasley says:

    I hope I’m one of many who (like Jac below) is VERY glad that the young people who fled to Calais will not be abandoned, and that the UK, including Devon, is playing a part in helping them find a better life. Well done Mr McInnes & team! (And if the odd few aren’t ‘nice kids’, I think we should trust that the systems put in place will protect the public – whilst also protecting the vulnerable majority of them from the odd few hostile Brits!). As with Jac, please keep my contact details on file for when you know what help the public can offer. Meanwhile, I’ll keep an eye on the Devon Newscentre website for the latest developments.

  5. Paul Newman says:

    I note that the migrants are all male and said to be over 16. It is therefore highly likely some or all will be adults. As a father with school age daughters this is hugely concerning. I would like to be assured that there`s no risk of my daughters interacting with these young men, for example at school, or other public spaces.

    • Paul, thanks for your comments. We understand your concerns. This is a temporary operation and we have been assured by the Home Office that security arrangements are in place and that the facility is well staffed for the protection of both the young people staying there and the local community. We’re also assured that the young people are under 18 years of age.

  6. Jac says:

    I would like to help support these young people. Please make known how gifts can be given for them, be they hygiene products, toys, warm hats and socks etc. What we need to remember is that they are children who have been terrified out of their homes.

    • Hi Jacqui

      Thanks for your email, and we appreciate your willingness to help. At the moment we are working with the Home Office to better understand what the individual and collective needs of these vulnerable young people are.

      In the meantime we will keep your contact details on file.

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