Redbridge’s last remaining children’s home set to close

Redbridge’s last council-run children’s home will close after 35 years despite a last-minute plea from a teenage resident.

Cabinet members voted to wind down the 10-bed residence in Bathurst Road, Ilford at a meeting at Redbridge Town Hall on Tuesday, citing the age of the Victorian building and a fall in demand for places.

Twelve permanent members of staff now face redundancy, and there is uncertainty over the future of its young people.

Speaking in the council chamber, Cllr Alan Weinberg, cabinet member for children’s services, said the building was “not fit for purpose in the 21st century”.

“Young people deserve better than what we are providing. I wouldn’t allow a child of mine to be placed in Bathurst Road,” he said. He made it clear he was not criticising staff who provide a “quality” service and noted that most of the residents were due to move out this summer.

Dawir Kidane, 18, told councillors: “When I moved there I couldn’t speak English and knew nothing, but the people are helping me with my education, confidence and everything.

“Bathurst Road is like my family and now I don’t have a problem to live by myself.”