Dozen homes needed for unaccompanied young asylum seekers

Campaign launched to recruit families to provide support and shelter to arrivals in Edinburgh.

Dozen homes needed for unaccompanied young asylum seekers
The council in Edinburgh has launched a campaign to find homes.

A dozen families are wanted to care for unaccompanied young asylum seekers arriving in Edinburgh.

Couples or individuals are being invited to offer a home and support to young people aged over 16, many of whom have experienced the trauma of war, poverty or trafficking.

Last year, 25 people arrived in the capital after coming to the UK from countries across the Middle East and North Africa as well as Vietnam.

The figure is up from just nine young people arriving the year before.

Edinburgh city council has now launched a campaign to recruit more families to meet the demand.

The local authority says it has a duty of care to look after any child when their parent or carer cannot be identified.

Many speak little or no English when they arrive.

Councillor Ian Perry, convener for education, children and families at Edinburgh Council, said: “This is a really rewarding role as the young people who arrive here face uncertainty about their future life in the United Kingdom.

“We need families who can provide a safe, nurturing environment to support them into independence and I would urge anyone who may be considering being a host family to contact us for more information.”

The council is looking to recruit 12 host families who can provide loving homes for the young people.

Prospective families need to have a spare room and live in Edinburgh or within travelling distance of the city.

Experience or skills in caring for young people is helpful, however training, support and a financial allowance are all provided.

Hosts can be married, single or in a partnership, employed or unemployed and enquiries are welcome from all cultures and backgrounds.

First-hand accounts of families who have been looking after young people have been included as part of the campaign.

John’s family have looked after a 17-year-old Vietnamese boy since 2018.

John (not his real name) said: “Being a host family is a fascinating and rewarding experience in which both sides, carers and young people, can learn from each other, open minds and build relationships despite cultural and language differences and life’s inevitable challenges.”

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