Homes are needed for teen asylum seekers who have fled trauma to seek refuge in Scotland.
An appeal has been launched to find host families to house young refugees in Perth and Kinross, including some who have escaped human trafficking and abuse.
Perth and Kinross Council is preparing to accommodate new arrivals and is calling for people who can offer safe and supportive environments to teen asylum seekers and help them prepare to lead independent lives.
Rebuilding young people’s lives
Potential carers can be married, single or in a partnership.
They must have a spare room available and be ready to work with professionals to provide support.
The majority of the youngsters are 16 or 17 years old, having often travelled for many months before arriving in the UK.
Many have experienced traumatic living circumstances, time in refugee camps, and separation from their families.
Some having also become victims of human trafficking or faced physical and sexual abuse.
One teen to have benefited from the support of a host family was a 16-year-old girl who fled her home to escape forced military enrolment.
During her journey to the UK she was a victim of violence and torture and desperate to find safety.
She received the support of a single female host and, now 18, the young woman has rebuilt her confidence and embraced life in Scotland.
Thanks to the support she has recently moved in to her own accommodation and at Perth College.
New found confidence
Hazel Robertson, the council’s head of service for children, young people and families, said: “Unaccompanied asylum seeker children come to Perth and Kinross needing safe, supportive family environments.
“That will help them begin to deal with their experiences while seeking a safe place to continue their lives and build their potential.
“We have already seen the benefits that host families have provided for young unaccompanied asylum seekers.”
Making a difference
She added: “The kindness and commitment to making a difference that local people have shown is incredibly heartening and valuable.
“We hope that more residents will come forward to find out more and help us to increase our resource of host families for these young people.”
Training and support
Continuous training and support will be offered during the teen’s stay.
A council spokesperson said: “Young people will live with their host families until they are able to move on to independent living, which can be a period of time between six and 12 months.
“Relevant experience or skills in caring for young people would also be very helpful and enquiries will be welcomed from all ethnic groups and cultures.
“Potential hosts will face a detailed assessment to ensure they are best to offer support and once confirmed will go through training.
“Furthermore, host families will receive financial support with living expenses.”
To register your interest in becoming a host family, call 01738 783466 or email firstname.lastname@example.org