By Canterbury Labour Party / Miscellaneous / / 0 Comments

Update on Ladesfield development

Ladesfield, as a centre to house young unaccompanied asylum seeking refugees minors (16/17 year olds) closed in January this year. It is to be demolished to make room for an extension to Joy Lane School. From September to January the former KCC Old Persons residential home was home to up to 38 boys arriving from Calais having fled from often difficult or life threatening situations in their own homeland. Many of them traumatised, having fled war in which they witnessed the killing of close members of their families. Ladesfield was their temporary home until their status as refugees is established. Some will be accepted as asylum seekers and others will be returned to their homeland after their 18th birthday when they become adults. In the meantime they are children in the care of the Kent County Council which has the legal responsibility to act as their ‘parents’.
All the young people who have left Ladesfield are now living, under supervision, in the community in accommodation owned or rented by local authorities in Kent.
During the time they were living at Ladesfield, the KCC managers and staff welcomed the assistance of local volunteers in Whitstable who came forward from churches and from the secular community. The volunteers worked alongside the centre staff and translators to help the young people to learn, and understand, British culture and language skills. They were taught kitchen hygiene and simple cooking, sharing meals, playing games and reading together.
Hearing of the experiences and journeys of these children to the UK was also a sobering learning experience for the staff and volunteers and it was a pleasure to see the eagerness of the young people – to learn and to watch them develop and integrate with each other and with the staff and volunteers and a delight to see them smile and grow in confidence. We hope that their first introduction to and experience of British life was positive, friendly and welcoming and we wish them peace and stability in their future lives – wherever they may be.