Refugee project faces closure

A Canning Town centre supporting young refugees and asylum seekers is facing closure after its funding was withdrawn. London Councils has ruled that The Children’s Society New Londoners project, which is based at the Hub in Star Lane, no longer meets its funding criteria.

Clair Cook, New Londoners programme manager, said: “These people are very vulnerable.

“They come to this country with no-one.

“I don’t know where they are going to go for support.”

Clair said the project was being wound down and would be closed by the end of October if the decision was not reversed.

The scheme’s three staff provide counselling and support to young people who arrive in the country with no family.

The programme, which was launched in 1994, is currently helping 60 refugees and asylum seekers across 11 boroughs.

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A former user of the project said its closure would be “terrible news”.

The 22-year-old, who now lives in Manor Park, said New Londoners had helped him gain British citizenship, as well as get into education and find a home.

“I would have been a very troubled person without them,” he added.

A London Councils spokeswoman said the project did not meet the criteria of its reduced pan London programme as it was able to operate on an individual borough level.

Clair said she was “very disappointed” that London Councils had taken this view as the young people her team were working with were homeless and were likely to move from borough to borough.

She added that it was unlikely that the group would be able get individual funding from the 11 councils they work with.