Refugee children fleeing war-torn regions of the world will find a safe home in Lambeth after the council told the government they are ready to welcome them.
The council contacted the Home Office this week to signal that the borough is ready to look after unaccompanied young asylum-seekers who come to the UK from camps in Europe.
David Cameron announced last week that the UK would welcome 3,000 more unaccompanied refugee children, including young Syrians, from Europe.
A council spokesperson said: “Lambeth has a long history of offering refuge to people who have fled the most terrible conditions in other parts of the world.”
“When children arrive here as refugees, completely alone after escaping terrible conditions, we have a responsibility to look after them and provide with a home where they can finally feel safe.”
A number of community groups and individuals in Lambeth have already called for action to help unaccompanied child refugees, including Lambeth Unison, which helped to organise a delegation to Calais refugees last year.
Lambeth Unison Branch Secretary Jon Rogers said: “Unison welcomes the decision of Lambeth Council to welcome unaccompanied young refugees to the borough.
“We believe that all refugees should be made welcome in our borough, our city and our country and that the Council is right to offer safe refuge to young people fleeing war.
“Unison will support Lambeth – and other local authorities – lobbying the government for funding to support this initiative, but the most important thing is that we must not shut out young refugees who need our help.”
Lambeth found homes for two families who arrived in the UK as refugees from Syria earlier this year, the first of 20 families the Council has committed to supporting.
A decision about the support Lambeth will be able to offer unaccompanied minors will be made once more details of the scheme are announced.
The Local Government Association (LGA) has called on ministers to clarify how the resettlement operation will be funded in the long term, and how the children would be dispersed across the country.
It is unclear how the children will be brought to the UK and allocated homes around the country, as the Home office is still finalising details of the operation. Full details will be provided when they are available.
For information on how to offer a home to a vulnerable person, contact Lambeth’s specialist fostering and adoption services at: http://www.lambeth.gov.uk/fosteringandadoption/