A teenage refugee spent two years enduring danger, abuse and homelessness in north Africa and Europe before finding safety in the Reading and Wokingham area.

Berkshire charity Refugee Support Group said his story shows the ordeals unaccompanied child refugees have to go through. Wokingham Borough Council is preparing to boost its support for unaccompanied child refugees.

Jonjo Warrick, the charity’s fundraising and communications manager, described the child’s “horrific journey” after escaping Sudan.

“In the middle of the night people came into his village, setting fire to buildings and firing guns,” said Jonjo. “He ran and never saw any of his relatives again.

“He had a traumatic journey across the Mediterranean in a boat, probably at the hands of human traffickers. In Europe he spent a year trying to get to the UK, because he spoke English and knew someone from his village was in the country.

“He was living in Paris for about two or three months under a bridge. He got into a caravan with people who said they were going to England but took him to the Netherlands. Then, eventually, he made it across in a small boat and arrived in the UK when he was 15.”

Jonjo added: “It took him over two years from leaving in the middle of the night with nothing as a child. Think of the sheer scale of it – looking for food, and running away from trying to exploit him.”

He said the refugee is doing “fairly well” now that he’s settled in the Reading and Wokingham area.

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But Wokingham Borough Council says it’s currently unable to settle most of the unaccompanied child refugees in its care within the borough.

A newly-published council strategy document says there are 42 unaccompanied child refugees in its care, many of them sent to the borough under the National Transfer Scheme.

The council is responsible for finding them foster homes or other accommodation – but has placed them predominantly outside the borough.

The document says housing refugees in London is “more likely to meet their cultural identity needs and it is more likely that they will live near people they know.”

But it says that also means the children “will be less likely to access local education, training and health support. They may also be unable to obtain local authority housing provision meaning they are unable to settle in permanent and more affordable accommodation.”

The council is working on providing flats for care leavers to stay in for up to six months. It is also working to encourage more foster care in the borough.

The strategy is set to be debated by councillors at the Children's Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee on Tuesday, June 21.