This is my letter to the Times and Gazette from Monday.
(If this broadly reflects your views, join our facebook page – Welcome unaccompanied young asylum seekers to Ladesfield.)
Labour opposed the closure of the Ladesfield Care Home in Vulcan Close and has campaigned to have it reopened. The building, however, currently stands empty and is in clear need of repair. I consider its use as a temporary shelter for refugees under 18 as a sensible and humane move.
These young people will not have casually left their homes; some may have escaped from traffickers or been sent by their family to get away from a war zone. How brave they must be and how high their expectation of a safe harbour in civilised Britain!
Ideally they would be housed with foster parents in a family environment rather than a care home but I know there is an acute shortage of foster carers in East Kent.
Some residents are concerned about the home’s proximity to Joy Lane School. Whitstable’s schools take great care to provide safe places for our children. These refugees will become school students themselves, looking for that same safe environment.
It is often said but no less true for that: how we treat the vulnerable is a mark of our civilisation. I, for one, am pleased we are stepping up to help these young people in need.
Bernadette Fisher, CCC Councillor for Gorrell Ward.