There are very few people in the UK that will know what it's like to have to leave your home because an invading force have bombed your homes, schools and hospitals and are threatening to continue until your country concedes defeat. That though, is the situation millions of Ukrainians are facing right now. Fighting age men (18-60) cannot leave the country meaning that many of the refugees who are fleeing the violence are women, children and older people.
There are organisations better qualified to provide aid to Ukrainian refugees than us, so we are aiming to bring together the best advice we can find, below.
The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) brings together 15 member charities and distributes your donations to where it is most needed.
Donating cash means that the organisations working on the ground at Ukraine's borders are able to buy what is needed quickly and efficiently. While donations of clothing, food etc is well meant it can also obstruct supply chains and delay more urgent life saving equipment from getting through.
At this point in time, Neston Community Youth Centre are recommending that if you want to help refugees in Ukraine, Poland, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia and Moldova, more than 2 million people, the best way to do that is to make a cash donation directly to the Disasters Emergency Committee who will get this money directly to organisations such as British Red Cross, Save the Children, CAFOD, Oxfam and others who are on the ground and best placed to know what is needed, when.
The UK government has announced a scheme, which will be launched soon, to allow UK residents to 'nominate a named individual or a family to stay with them rent free, or in another property, for at least six months' with information available online at Homes for Ukraine – Homes for Ukraine – Local Sponsorship Scheme for Ukraine (campaign.gov.uk).
At this point you can register an interest in hosting refugee(s) or if you already know somebody looking to flee the country you can start the process now.
It would appear that Ukrainians on the scheme will be given leave to remain in the UK for three years with the right to work and access public services on arrival.
For our part, Neston Community Youth Centre are offering to bring together potential hosts in preparation for any arrivals and to work with the Local Authority, Health and other partners to co-ordinate the support that may be required. With this in mind, if you are considering hosting refugees locally (Neston, Little Neston, Ness, Burton, Willaston, Parkgate) please consider filling in the short form on the right or go to https://forms.office.com/r/2FJ61VxpEP to access the survey in a new window.