Home Office refugee facility in Devon to wind down

© EU/ECHO/Peter Biro

Posted on: 23 November 2016

The project in North Devon to reunite young refugees from the former Calais camp with their families in the UK, and to find more permanent homes for other young asylum seekers, is drawing to a close.

Always planned as a six week project, the temporary facility set up by the Home Office is set to close this week.

Of the 37 young people that were transferred to the facility following their arrival into the UK from Calais, all but a small number have been reunited with family members.

Those few without family in the UK are being helped through the Government’s National Transfer Scheme into more permanent living arrangements.

The Home Office has welcomed Devon’s support and community response, and say that no more young people are expected to be transferred to the North Devon facility.

Devon County Council has worked side by side with the care provider Catch 22 and staff at Beam House, co-ordinating a dedicated local multi-agency partnership of social workers, the Police, NHS staff, Torridge and Great Torrington Councils to monitor and support the operation throughout.

cllr-james-mcinnesCouncillor James McInnes, the County Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for vulnerable young children, said:

“I am very proud that Devon was able to respond so quickly to this situation and has played its full part in offering the hand of friendship and support to these young refugees.

“This has always been about helping vulnerable young people in a very tragic situation and I am pleased that in the short time Devon has been host, every effort has been made to welcome these young people, to provide a safe, warm and supportive environment whilst their longer term situations could be resolved.

“I would particularly like to pay tribute to the people of Torrington and the understanding and support they have shown. I have been genuinely moved by the community response and amazed by the generosity shown by so many others across Devon in wanting to help.”

Offers of support from members of the public have flowed steadily in, from far and near, but nowhere more so than from the local community in Great Torrington.

cllr-margaret-brown-great-torrington-town-councilThe town’s Mayor, Councillor Margaret Brown says she’s overwhelmed by local people’s eagerness to help in any way they can.

She said: ” It has been a privilege to provide a refuge here in Great Torrington for the young refugees and also to be able to bring some normality into the lives of these children who have suffered so much in their young lives. We hope they find the love that every child deserves and wish them well for the future.”

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