Council makes pledge after being approached by Safe Passage charity
During the next ten years 50 child refugees will be welcomed into Merton.
The council made the pledge officially at an event on Tuesday night (May 7) at Southwark Cathedral.
There are already 31 child refugees that have been taken in by Merton.
The council was approached by charity Safe Passage to increase its commitment of 30 over the next ten years to 50.
It was part of the organisation’s Our Turn campaign to secure pledges from local authorities to take in at-risk child refugees.
It comes 80 years ago British communities took in 10,000 unaccompanied child refugees fleeing Nazi persecution in Europe.
As part of the pledge, in the next month Merton Council will also welcome two children under The Dubs Amendment which was passed in 2016 to offer unaccompanied refugee children safe passage to Britain.
Council leader Councillor Stephen Alambritis said: “We think our duty to children worldwide is such that we want to do all we can.”
Safe Passage has been meeting with councils around the country to encourage them to commit to take on more refugee children.
Coincidentally, the day after the pledge a letter from Minister of State for Immigration Caroline Noakes outlined an increase in the amount refugee children will be allotted by the Home Office.
Funding will increase from as low as £71 a night to £114.
And while Cllr Alambritis said this was welcomed he thinks that more can be done as local authorities end up having to cover additional costs.
He added: “We are trying to prove to the Home Office that the UK can be more ambitious if the government can fully fund these kids who are very vulnerable, have fled their home countries and risked their lives.
“We are very proud that we’ve been able to do this.”
May 9, 2019