Refugees in Ealing told they are being moved out of London in process branded as 'cruel'

Watch ITV News' report as families are moved from West London.

Wrapped in coats to protect them from the chill of an autumn morning in London, are dozens of people, clutching bags which hold all their belongings.

They are refugees who until today lived in a self-catering residence in West London but now have been told they are being sent to Kent.

They say they only had a few days notice of the move. Many of them have long awaited medical appointments they will now be unable to attend.

"They just gave us one letter a month ago saying we were moving on the 24th October. They didn't address it to us, just wrote a room number. They never told us where we were going. Last week we heard an address but it was just a rumour. There was nothing official," one man tells us.

He says a meeting was meant to be held the day before the move but although the families waited, a representative from the accommodation provider ClearSprings Ready Homes never came.

Instead she went door-to-door in the evening but did not get around to speaking with everyone.

"This morning, that lady came to my room and said "are you ready to move?" I said no. I don't know where I am moving to. After that she said - you will be homeless. It was scary" he says.

People at the accommodation say it was not clear where they would be sent. Credit: ITV News

There are adults and children alike waiting at the side of the road for the coach which will take them to their new accommodation.

Some of these children have attended three schools in the last few months. They are young and another move is very stressful.

An asylum seeker, whose family have been moved three times in 18 months, says it is taking a toll on his nine-year-old son's mental health.

"My son is crying every night - why am I losing my friends every term? He is making friends then just losing them suddenly overnight. It's not possible. He can't manage it anymore. 

"I don't even know where we are going - they might not have a place for him. I walk my son to school at the moment. What if the next school is further away? I can't afford the bus."

Another man tells us his four year old son has moved schools four times in 15 months. The young boy has special needs and has been receiving support at his latest school.

"They have given him a one-to-one. He has speech therapy appointments and has made real progress. I tried to explain this to the people who are moving us but no-one listens. I am worried all his progress will be lost."

The head teacher at the local primary school says they are losing fifteen children to the move:

"Some of them have been with us since January and they are flourishing, making friends, progressing academically - they were happy. It's going to have an impact on all those things and a serious impact on their mental health."

Parents are worried about the impact of the move on their children. Credit: ITV News

For one young woman from Afghanistan, the situation is unbearable. She and her husband fled their country when the Taliban took over. In England, they are currently not permitted to work.

Instead, she is studying at a local college, while he earned a scholarship at a university to complete a masters. Now they are being made to move, they will no longer be able to attend their classes as they have no way of getting there.

"Since we've got here [to the UK], it has been hard but we are ok with that. If you want things to get better, you have to make sacrifices first. I understand that. But this is beyond sacrifice. This is my future and they are taking that from me. They are taking my future from me because of accommodation. This studying is the chance of a lifetime. How can I let that go?"

She is one of several refugees who say they were threatened with the police being called if they did not comply with moving.

She begins to cry as she describes the situation:

"I am coming from a country of war. I am running from war and they are threatening me with the police. How can I feel normal here? I just want to live a normal life in one place. We are trying so hard."

Some refugees are studying in the area and will no longer be able to attend classes. Credit: ITV News

A local group, EASE Ealing has condemned the treatment of the refugees and say there must be an investigation into how the move was handled.

"Decision-makers have known for months that the building rental contract was ending but waited for the final week to move people, uprooting children from their schools mid-term and causing people to miss important medical appointments.

"The process is cruel and arbitrary, heaping more trauma on adults and children who have already been through so much.

"We want a compassionate asylum system. And we want our families and our schoolchildren back."

Police were on site as the move took place. Credit: ITV News

The housing of refugees is the responsibility of the Home Office and they often use subcontractors.

ClearSprings Ready Homes, the accommodation provider in this case declined to comment.

For its part, the Home Office said it does not comment on individual situations but added: “The use of hotels to house asylum seekers is unacceptable and we are working with local authorities to find appropriate accommodation across the United Kingdom.”

“Asylum accommodation is offered on a no-choice basis across the United Kingdom and we continue to ensure that accommodation provided is safe, secure and appropriate for an individual’s needs."