Highlighting the urgent need for host families in East Lothian to support unaccompanied sanctuary seekers.
East Lothian Council is currently looking for people to come forward as host families to help care for sanctuary seekers.
As many as five unaccompanied children and young people under the age of 18 arrive in Scotland each month. Many will have fled war or trafficking. Each person who arrives in the country will have faced extremely difficult challenges when leaving their home and throughout their travels.
The children and young people who arrive in the country often do so with a small amount of possessions, little or no English and limited connections to friends and family. Many may also be suffering from large amounts of trauma. Most will have left everything behind in their home country, some even their family.
This call to action is part of a wider commitment from the Scottish government to support unaccompanied children and young people arriving in the country seeking asylum. All local authorities are expected to play a part by providing accommodation and support to young people.
East Lothian Council are looking for committed people to become host families for these unaccompanied sanctuary seekers. Host families of all ages and backgrounds are welcome – it’s important that hosts are kind, patient and non-judgemental towards a vulnerable group who need support.
Previous experience as a carer is not needed to enquire; the most important aspect is having a positive attitude. East Lothian Council will support you throughout the entire journey. This ranges from full training to allowances that can help with added costs. A social worker will also be available at all times to provide support and advice whenever needed.
Those applying must have a spare room and should also be able to accommodate a child or young person for a minimum of 18 months to two years.
Cabinet member for Education and Children’s and Family Services Councillor Fiona Dugdale said: “It’s hard to imagine the fear and trauma that would come from leaving your home country due to war or persecution and the risks that this involves. The young people who arrive here do so with little possessions, no contacts and with uncertainty as to what their future might look like.
“It is important that all children and young people arriving in this country seeking sanctuary receive all the support they need. Having stability in their lives, like somewhere safe to live, positive relationships and support to settle, can help begin the healing process and help them move onto the next stage in their lives.
“We have already seen people across East Lothian open their doors to families fleeing the situation in Ukraine and hope that they will be further inspired to help young people who are seeking sanctuary within our communities.”
More information is available online here or by calling the team on 01620 827643.