BRIGHTON and Hove has become the sanctuary for 65 young refugees making the authority one of the most kind-hearted in the country.

Youngsters who have travelled thousands of miles from their war-torn homelands in Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq are now starting new lives under the protection of the city council.

In contrast to the city council’s generosity, up to a quarter of local authorities have refused to take part in the national voluntary scheme complaining about the costs of taking children and young adults into their care.

Last month it was reported The Home Office was only providing councils with half the cost of caring for unaccompanied asylum seeking children, according to new analysis.

City councillors are calling for more resources from Westminster to help the authority meet its commitments.

Brighton and Hove City Council is currently working with 39 unaccompanied asylum seeking children aged under 18 as well 26 care leavers aged between 18 and 25.

The youngsters seeking refuge in the city are from 15 different countries including Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria and Eritrea.

They are given a health assessment when they arrive in the city while a personal education plan is also drawn up with access support to learn English.

The council said the longer term goal was to allow the young refugees to become involved in mainstream education.

Councillor Tom Bewick, children, young people and skills committee chairman, said the city was happy to take up its moral obligations even though it put additional strain on the authority’s already stretched children’s services.

He said: “Over the summer with the closure of the so-called Jungle in Calais, we have had to assist our neighbour Kent with what is an unprecedented human tragedy they are having to deal with.

“After an unaccompanied child is picked up in back of the lorry crossing municipal boundaries, we have a moral duty to look after that child and we are not going to turn that individual away.

“But if you haven’t planned for that it puts pressure on in-house foster services and if they cannot house them they have to go then to outside agencies which cost us even more.

“These are the demand pressures but the government doesn’t enter into the discussion with councils about these unforeseen pressures.”

A Home Office spokeswoman said it had increased its daily rate in July meaning authorities now received £41,610 a year for an unaccompanied asylum seeking child aged under 16 and £33,215 for 16 and 17-year-olds.

She said the Government was grateful to those councils that have offered assistance,

She added: “We have substantially increased the levels of funding we provide for the care of unaccompanied asylum seeking children.

"The rates we pay are calculated using information submitted by councils on the costs they incur."