Letter: Only the government has the money to rescue British children from life on the streets

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The Independent Online
As you note, the only four refuges for under-age runaways exist without the central government support they desperately need. But the situation is actually more severe than it initially appears. The only reason there is a refuge at all in London is the result of a one-year reprieve. In April, a pounds 200,000 donation from the Corporation of London Bridge House Estates Trust Fund saved the Centrepoint/NSPCC Refuge from closure after its Department of Health funding was withdrawn.

If the refuge had shut, Centrepoint's other shelters would have taken in these young people. However, they would have had to send them straight home, without the intensive work that staff do to stop them having to run away again, because it is illegal to act otherwise.

The immediate human costs of closing the refuge were graphically outlined in your leading article "Children we must not fail" (8 June). The long- term costs are just as far-reaching. We know from experience that these children will probably keep running away from home if nothing is done about their problems, and are very likely to end up homeless after their 16th birthdays.

If the DoH continues to stonewall, this refuge will close next year.

Victor Adebowale

Centrepoint, London W1

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