Like you we have been horrified at the scale of the unfolding humanitarian disaster in Afghanistan and reports of killings by the Taliban and crackdowns on women’s rights show how hard-fought freedoms are being dismantled. After two decades of conflict this country has a moral duty to help the many Afghans desperately seeking refuge from Taliban retribution.
Croydon has a long history of welcoming and supporting those in need of sanctuary and our community is proud to already be providing assistance and housing to over 150 Afghan unaccompanied asylum-seeking children and care leavers. Like other London boroughs, Croydon is working with the government to explore how we can best provide assistance but this effort will need all parts of the country to play their part.
New council homes for Croydon families
On a more positive note I was pleased to attend the unveiling of Malcolm Wicks House earlier this week – a brand new apartment block in the heart of our town centre providing quality council homes for 90 Croydon families on the housing waiting list. The first families will move in next month. A fitting tribute to our former MP for Croydon North, Malcolm Wicks House is one of four blocks on the former Taberner House site, providing a total of 513 homes of which 51% will be affordable. London is facing a housing crisis, but in Croydon we are determined to keep working hard to tackle it through developments like this, which make a real difference to so many people’s lives.
Back to school
Finally, as the summer holidays draw to a close I want to wish all of our children, young people, families and nursery, school and college staff the very best for the new term.
A particularly exciting development this September will be the opening of the stunning new building for Addington Valley, Croydon’s special free school for pupils with autism aged 2-19. This fantastic, purpose-built facility run by Orchard Hill Academy Trust will make a huge difference to so many Croydon families – watch a video tour with our cabinet member here.
I hope everyone has enjoyed some rest and relaxation over the holidays – it has been fantastic to see so many young people enjoying our summer activities, and we have supported thousands of families in need with our holiday activities and food programme.
We all hope that this year will see an even greater return to normality for Croydon’s pupils, but to make that happen it’s vital we all keep following the public health advice to protect one another from the virus. Getting vaccinated is still the most important thing we can all do, so if you haven’t already, this Bank Holiday weekend is the perfect time to grab your jab. Find all the details here.
Enjoy the Bank Holiday weekend and hopefully some sunshine,
Councillor Hamida Ali, leader of the council