The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid MP visited Croydon this morning to find out more about the borough’s work to support young asylum seekers and refugees.
Councillor Tony Newman, leader of Croydon Council, met with Mr Javid, Gavin Barwell, MP for Croydon Central and Kurdish community leader Ibrahim Dogus, in the wake of an attack on a Kurdish-Iranian teenage asylum seeker in Shrublands last week.
During the visit, Councillor Newman detailed the borough’s close working relationship with the Home Office, whose immigration screening centre on Wellesley Road is where all asylum applications are first processed.
As a gateway borough, Croydon has taken in and provided care for thousands of unaccompanied young asylum seekers and refugees. At any one time the council typically has between 400 and 450 unaccompanied asylum seeking children in its care, most of whom are placed with foster parents.
A dispersal scheme which has been in place since last summer, sees Croydon provide initial support to new arrivals before efforts are made to place them with other authorities around the UK.
Councillor Tony Newman, leader of the council
“Our thoughts remain with the victim of this attack and his friends who were also affected. Croydon is proud of its diverse community and vile and cowardly attacks of this nature are extremely rare.
“The vast majority of young asylum seekers have been welcomed into the borough and into our community, which was recently seen when hundreds of children were cheered and applauded on their arrival at the Home Office from the Calais Jungle last year. The sense of community in Croydon is what attracts people to our borough and we will not allow the awful, isolated actions of a minority define Croydon.”
Sajid Javid MP, added: “This young man came here seeking refuge and on Friday night he got the exact opposite of that. It is unacceptable and this attack does not represent Britain or Croydon in anyway. We must do everything we can to apprehend those responsible for this appalling unacceptable crime.”