Give refugees a decent chance

25th August 2006 at 01:00
Ibrahim's story ("Man of the house", TES, August 11) relayed the personal and financial burden of dependents on many young refugees. Our research outlined financial constraints on education such as being unable to afford books and having to walk long distances to college if you are ineligible for travel allowances.

Many young refugees also have to wait at least three months for English language classes, and are more likely to be dispersed into areas with high unemployment and fewer opportunities, feel depressed and suffer low self esteem often due to racist bullying.

Most asylum applicants are young - 43 per cent are under 25. Many will spend the rest of their lives in the UK.

Centrepoint admits four times as many young refugees to our services as we did five years ago.

The real story behind these statistics is not how many people are allowed to remain in the UK, but what is happening to those already here. We cannot afford not to invest in their future.

Anthony Lawton

Chief executive

Centrepoint Head Office

Central House

25, Camperdown Street

London

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