Orphaned Glasgow schoolboy threatened with eviction guaranteed a home

An orphan schoolboy threatened with eviction along with hundreds of asylum seekers has been guaranteed a home after a mass petition against the plans.

10-year-old Giorgi Kakava faced an uncertain future
10-year-old Giorgi Kakava faced an uncertain future

Giorgi Kakava, 10, and grandmother Ket Baikhadze have been offered a permanent tenancy after more than 80,000 people signed a petition in support of the pair.

Glasgow North East MP Paul Sweeney confirmed the Springburn youngster and his gran have been offered a permanent tenancy with North Glasgow Housing Association.

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Giorgi was given a tour around Celtic stadium Parkhead after his home was under threat from Serco following plans to evict more than 300 of the city’s asylum seekers.

Mr Sweeney said: “We have already seen the eviction scandal play out over the last few weeks in Glasgow, and sadly Giorgi and his grandmother were liable to be evicted from their property.

“So after intervention by my office, we have been successful in ensuring the housing association is going to offer them a permanent tenancy.”

The latest triumph for Giorgi and his grandmother comes after an ongoing fight to save him from deportation to Georgia.

Mrs Baikhadze’s daughter Sopio fled to Scotland seven years ago after her late husband allegedly owed money to gangsters.

Sopio, known as Sophie, was awaiting the outcome of an appeal for asylum in the UK when she died in February after a long illness.

That left Mrs Baikhadze, who has lived illegally in Glasgow for 14 years, as the guardian of her grandson, who has been in the city since he was three.

A spokesman for ng Homes added: “ng homes is aware of this family’s circumstances and wants to assist in any way we can.

“We are delighted to offer a permanent tenancy to the family and we are also working very closely with other agencies.

“A dedicated member of our housing services team will visit the family and as well as providing a permanent home we will provide them with all the necessary support to make sure they can stay safe and secure in North Glasgow.”

A petition which was set up by Springburn Parish Church Reverend Brian Casey has attracted more than 80,000 supporters who are asking the Home Secretary Sajid Javid to grant asylum to the family.

The campaign, which also involved Mr Sweeney discussing the matter with Prime Minister Theresa May, had some success when Giorgi and his grandmother were granted permission to stay in Glasgow for at least two-and-a-half years.

But the fight goes on to ensure Giorgi and his grandmother can stay in Glasgow for good.

Mr Sweeney said: “Giorgi’s last year of life has been one of torment, uncertainty and tragedy with the loss of his mother very sadly in February.

“We all have got responsibility to make him feel welcome and part of our community.”

Part of the responsibility came through yesterday when Giorgi was given a tour of his favorite club’s stadium, Celtic Park.

Springburn councillor Martin McElroy arranged for Giorgi and a school friend to have the tour, after he got permission from his teacher at Elmvale Primary School.

He was joined on the tour by Rangers-supporting Reverend Casey, who put aside his allegiance to the Ibrox side to join St Aloysius parish priest Father John McGrath on the tour.

Councillor McElory said: “The funny thing about this is Reverend Casey is a big Rangers fan and I thought it would funny to invite Father McGrath along as well.

“It sounds like the start of a bad joke...a councillor, a minister and a priest walk into a football club.

“What this story proves is that it doesn’t matter where your born, if you live in Glasgow, you are a Glaswegian.

I wasn’t born in Glasgow but I feel more Glaswegian than anything.

“It is a city that really captures you and it is down to the people.

“It is a cliche that people make Glasgow - but they do.

“When I heard about Giorgi’s story and the hardship that he has been through already, it was quite evil what the Home Office was making him go through to even have a chance of continuing his life in Glasgow.”

Reverend Casey said: “Giorgi is a really devoted fan of Celtic and he is a Leigh Griffiths fan.

“To be able to do something nice for him is fantastic as Giorgi has not had much of a childhood.

“It is time to give him a childhood now, he is 10-years-old and there is time left to make sure he enjoys these years.”

He added: “The community has come together in a way that has really surprised me as well and really touched me.

“It has been a catalyst for other families from not just Georgia but other places in the world.

“A family from Syria recently moved into the same area as Giorgi and the local people bought them a television, bedding and a fridge, so this story really has sparked off some fantastic things.”

The Church of Scotland urges the public to continue to support their petition for the family to be granted asylum.