We’re aware that with the horrendous scenes in Ukraine all over the media, our project website and email has seen a spike in traffic from people locally wondering how they might offer support to individual Ukrainians or Ukrainian families fleeing the war.
We thought it would be a good idea to post some links:
Ukraine Refugee Sponsorship Schemes
The government launched the Homes for Ukraine scheme this week, allowing sponsors in the UK, who will receive £350 a month in support, to register their interest in providing homes or spare rooms for a minimum stay of six months to individual Ukrainians or Ukrainian families. Sponsors may be individuals, institutions, charities, businesses or community groups. Full details on how to apply can be found here.
This new scheme is additional to the Ukrainian Family Scheme which allows family members of British nationals, UK settled persons and certain others to come or stay in the UK. Those joining the Scheme will be granted leave for three years to work, receive education, free healthcare and to access public funds. The UK Scheme is fully free and does not include any salary or language restrictions.
In addition, Ukrainians already in the UK can either extend their visa or switch to another immigration route even if their visa would not normally have allowed them to do so. Guidance on the support available to Ukrainian nationals and their family members can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/support-for-family-members-of-british-nationals-in-ukraine-and-ukrainian-nationals-in-ukraine-and-the-uk
Many thanks to everyone who has been in touch wondering where they might send consumable goods and clothing etc.
Whilst we completely understand and empathise with the impulse, we think that the best way to support those affected by the crisis is by making a direct cash donation to charitable organisations who have existing experience, delivery infrastructure, and a understanding of the needs on the ground.
The Disasters Emergency Committee is made up of 15 member charities who are experts in humanitarian aid and specialise in different areas of disaster response. They have launched a Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal, and there is lots of information about activities, as well as means to make donations on their website: https://www.dec.org.uk/appeal/ukraine-humanitarian-appeal
What about the South Downs Refugee Project?
We are, of course, deeply worried and upset by the pictures from Ukraine, as we were with the crisis in Afghanistan in August last year, and the Syrian civil war which seemed to be the predominant crisis when the project started in Spring 2021.
We think that our best approach is to remain firmly focused on providing a “soft landing” for the long-term resettlement of a refugee family under the Community Sponsorship scheme. This family will have already been identified as vulnerable and eligible for resettlement by the UNHCR, and right now remain in their precarious circumstances as the attention of the world (understandably) moves onto the terrible scenes in Ukraine.
We look forward to welcoming our first family as soon as we are able to secure their accommodation – a 2-3 bedroom property that we can rent for a minimum of 2 years. We continue to search for that property in a difficult market, and would welcome any offers of help.
Pic – UP9, CC BY-SA 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons