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Four children face three hour journey to and from school in Croydon after council re-houses family in north east London


FOUR children face a three hour journey to and from school after they were re-housed by the council in north east London.

Victoria Taricska and her children were living in temporary accommodation in Gilroy Court Hotel, in Thornton Heath, until they were told to leave last Thursday.

The council said it had no choice but to move Victoria and her children after the owners informed them the flat needed to be refurbished.

When contacted by the Advertiser, Gilroy Court said where families are relocated "doesn't concern us". 

"It's up to the council where they put them," a manager said.

The council said the flat in Ilford, some 20 miles away, was the only suitable accommodation it had available.

Miss Taricska was told by housing officers to accept the move or be classed as having made herself intentionally homeless, meaning she would no longer be eligible for help.

The 32-year-old was advised to find new schools for her children but is determined that they continue to be educated in Croydon.

Her oldest child, Tyler, 13, is making good progress at Quest Academy, in Selsdon, and his sister, Aaliyah, 11, is about to start in Year 7.

The two youngest - Chanelle, 10, and Tiannah, 4 - attend Fairchildes Primary School in New Addington.

Quest Academy only opened on Thursday, but Chanelle and Tiannah spent the first week of term making the three hour trip to and from New Addington accompanied by their mum, who is unwilling to let them travel across London on their own.

Miss Taricska said this week: "I tried to explain to the council that my kids go to school [in Croydon] and that all my family are here. I didn't even know how to get to Ilford. I had never been there in my life.

"They said it was tough and that if I didn't take it I would be making myself homeless. So I had no choice.

"What I won't do is find new schools. My kids are settled and making a lot of progress where they are. I can't take that away from them.

"But I'm terrified that they have to get on a train [to go to and from school]. I don't even let my eldest daughter go to the shop on her own, let alone travel across London."

Miss Taricska says she has had to give up her job as a cleaner in Sevenoaks to keep her children in school as her hours are incompatible with the school journey.

"I'll have to go back on benefits," she said. "I was trying to do the right thing by working but the council has made it impossible."

"I am keeping my children where they are," she added. "It may mean I can't get my kids to school every now and again but there's no way I'm taking them away from their teachers and friends."

Ros Sandell, head teacher at Fairchildes, is to write to the council to support the family's case to be re-housed in Croydon.

When asked whether the move would impact on Chanelle and Tiannah's schoolwork, Ms Sandell said: "Of course it will. Mum's committed enough to be able to do it this week but she will never be able to consistently get them into school.

"Families like theirs should have priority because they are well established within the local community."

A spokesman for the council said: "The council does not want to place families outside the borough but at the moment the pressure on our supply of temporary accommodation is such that we have no choice."

Victoria and her children were among 14 homeless families placed outside the borough last week alone, as Croydon's housing shortage continues. Three, including Victoria and her children, were moved out of Gilroy Court due to the refurbishment plans.

A man who identified himself as the manager of Gilroy Court said: "We informed the council they would have to find somewhere to move these people so that we can refurbish the flats. It's up to the council where they put them.

"Whether that's far away doesn't concern us because we have nothing to do with it."

Four children face three hour journey to and from school in Croydon after council re-houses family in north east London

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