Supporting Ukrainian Refugees
The current military conflict taking place in Ukraine has seen the humanitarian needs of its citizens escalate dramatically. More than 500,000 people have now fled the country according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and many more thousands have been displaced from their homes within Ukraine.
Red Cross teams in bordering countries including Poland, Moldova, Slovakia and Romania have been preparing to support people on arrival in each country. Polish Red Cross teams are distributing food and basic aid items and providing medical and psychosocial support for people arriving from Ukraine. So far they have given shelter to hundreds of people in temporary accommodation centres like the one seen below.
What can I do to help?
We have begun to receive messages of support from local residents who would like to offer their support to refugees. This is a huge reflection of the enormous sense of community spirit we have here in the borough and it is greatly appreciated.
At the moment there have been no confirmed details from the Home Office regarding any specific schemes or avenues for support that can be coordinated at a local level, however, as soon as we receive any notification of refugees arriving locally or requests for specific support we shall be sure to update this page as soon as possible to let residents know how they can help.
Is there any other ways I can help?
Further information on the UK Government’s response to the situation in Ukraine can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/russian-invasion-of-ukraine-uk-government-response
Additionally, the Red Cross have provided regular updates on their work supporting refugees within neighbouring counties, more details of which can be found here: https://www.redcross.org.uk/stories/disasters-and-emergencies/world/ukraine-red-cross-response-in-europe
Can I donate money to help?
At the moment we are not accepting donations locally until we have confirmation of specific needs, ensuring that any donations are put to the best use possible. However, the UK Disasters Emergency Committee has set up an international appeal requesting financial donations to support front line organisations working to support the refugee effort, details of this appeal can be found here: https://donation.dec.org.uk/ukraine-humanitarian-appeal
We are also aware of a fantastic local fundraising initiative being undertaken by the Winklebury and Manydown Community Action Group (WMCAG) on behalf of Unicef, details of which can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/donate/1042617689622878/3218104688418688/
Should a local financial donations appeal be established we shall be sure to update this page as soon as possible with further details.
Can I donate clothing and supplies?
We have been made aware of various clothing donation ‘hubs’ that have been set up in a few places across the country actively seeking donations of clothing to support Ukrainian refugees. However, at this time these collections have been specifically through unique connections within that community e.g. where a member of the public has identified a route via their own means for getting the clothing to nearby Ukrainian locations. At this moment in time, a coordinated/sustainable source of clothing collection and transportation has not been identified due to the challenging conditions and until such time we have details of trusted and viable clothing donation method we encourage residents to instead please consider a financial donation to the Disasters Emergency Committee as detailed above. We are actively making enquiries with local community groups who represent neighbouring border countries to establish how best clothing donations from the borough can be coordinated, this page will be updated asap when further information is available.
Although we are not currently aware of a coordinated and UK Government endorsed campaign for donated items (with the Disasters Emergency Committee instead urging financial donations via the link above) we are being made continuously aware of local initiatives that are taking place based upon individuals who are travelling to the Ukrainian border at their own risk and offering to take donated items. Below is a list of the current initiatives we have been made aware of – please note we cannot endorse nor confirm the exact details of any particular initiatives below and are simply serving as a point of information exchange. Residents are advised to speak directly to the organisers of the initiative in question prior to donating any items to confirm current needs:
Offers to collect/host donations:
We have received notification from the following organisations that where any collections are triggered in the borough they would be happy to support by either providing storage space or putting a call out to local residents to help collect:
- Viables Community Centre: http://www.viables.org.uk/
- Ridgeway Community Centre: http://www.ridgewaycommunitycentre.co.uk/
- Festival Place Shopping Centre: https://www.festivalplace.co.uk/visitor-information/customer-services/contact-festival-place
If you are a local neighbourhood or ward-based group in Basingstoke & Deane who have come together to support the situation in Ukraine, particularly those residents who have come together as a support group for those who have registered as accommodation sponsors via the Government’s ‘Homes for Ukraine’ scheme, then you may wish to join the Ukraine Supporters Network.
This peer network is designed to bring together the various groups of residents and local community causes that have emerged in response to the crisis in Ukraine.
Aims of the Network
- To connect groups from across the borough who are seeking to offer support, offering opportunities to link with peers and share best practice
- To serve as a central vehicle for cascading information between groups and providing updates from local and central governments sources as these become available
- To serve as a mechanism for connecting local residents who come forward wishing to help with their nearest support group that has already been established – aiming to reduce duplication and enhance neighbourhood connectivity
If your community cause or local resident group are supporting Ukrainian Refugees and wish to get involved please consider registering your group on our mailing list to receive updates: http://eepurl.com/hYfzQH
Charity Commission Guidance for Charities
Many charities are already raising funds and have launched appeals. The Charity Commission has produced dedicated guidance for Charity Trustees which explains how your charity can help when responding to an emergency. It includes advice about collaborating with other charities and managing risks when planning an appeal.
Please see the Charity Commission guidance here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/ukraine-humanitarian-crisis-guidance-for-charities-and-trustees
A number of UK-based translation, interpreting and language service associations and organisations have come together and formed a Language Support Task Force to respond to the rapidly developing need for Ukrainian into English language support in the UK.
On the Institute of Translation and Interpreting’s website https://www.iti.org.uk/ukrainian-crisis.html you can find more information and a number of useful links regarding where help can be found with language support.
Homes for Ukraine scheme
On 14th March the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, gave a statement to Parliament about the Homes for Ukraine scheme.
In the statement, he confirmed that the scheme will:
- Offer a route to those who want to come to the UK who have someone here willing to provide them with a home;
- Enable individuals, charities, community groups and businesses to volunteer accommodation and provide a route to safety for Ukrainians, and their immediate family members, forced to escape their homeland; and
- Provide accommodation via sponsors for as long as they are able, but the government has a minimum expectation of six months
Someone is eligible for the scheme if they are a Ukrainian national or the immediate family member of a Ukrainian national, and were resident in Ukraine prior to 1 January 2022.
The Government will welcome as many arrivals as possible, based on the number of sponsors.
People arriving under this scheme will be able to:
- Live and work in the UK for up to three years; and
- Access healthcare, benefits, employment support, education, and English language tuition
Individuals who wish to sponsor a named person should get in contact with them directly and prepare to fill in a visa application with all the required details. The visa application will go live on 18 March.
Individuals who do not know anyone to sponsor may wish to get in touch with charities, faith groups or local community organisations who are starting to make connections between individuals.
The DLUHC has produced a frequently asked questions document about the scheme. If you have any questions, please contact email@example.com.
Expression of Interest:
https://consult.communities.gov.uk/digital-delivery/register-to-support-homes-for-ukraine/ (As an individual)
Frequently asked questions:
The Ukraine Family Scheme allows applicants to join family members or extend their stay in the UK. It is free to apply. It allows applicants to live, work and study in the UK and access public funds. The guidance has details of how to contact the Home Office helplines to find out more.
To apply to the Ukraine Family Scheme people must:
- Be applying to join or accompany a UK-based family member; and
- Be Ukrainian or the immediate family member of a Ukrainian national who is applying to the scheme; and
- Have been residing in Ukraine on or immediately before 1 January 2022 (including those who have now left Ukraine)
The family member must be one of the following:
- A British national;
- Someone settled in the UK – for example, they have indefinite leave to remain, settled status or proof of permanent residence;
- Someone from the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland who has pre-settled status and started living in the UK before 1 January 2021;
- Someone with refugee status or humanitarian protection in the UK.
The Ukraine Family Scheme is part of a series of measures that have already been announced:
- Establishment of the Local Sponsorship Scheme for Ukraine for Ukrainians with no ties to the UK to come to the UK. The uncapped route will allow sponsors, such as communities or local authorities to bring people to the UK. Sponsored individuals will be able to work and the sponsor would provide housing and integration support;
- There will be flexibility to support Ukrainians who are on work, study or visit visas to switch to different visa routes extending their stay and those on seasonal work visas would have their leave temporarily extended;
- The Home Office has established 24/7 bespoke helplines to support people through the Ukrainian Humanitarian Route;
The Home Secretary has also shut down the Tier 1 investor visa route, to ensure people who have profited from dirty money cannot gain access to the UK, and the government will continue to crack down to tackle those beneficiaries of illicit wealth who may have previously abused the system and should not be here
Further details on the Local Sponsorship for Ukraine Scheme can be found here:
Further government details on the different ways to help can be found here:
Information for Sponsors
The UK Government is asking people to sponsor Ukrainians to come to the UK and to offer them accommodation for a minimum of a six-month period. Find out more about this scheme using the links below:
VCS EP Potential Offers of Support for the UK Response to the Ukraine Crisis – https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1gecHFr-h1ILW9w44pLBScKDgGwlN7kuZ6cbIk2plWDM/edit#gid=0
Here is a link to the latest operational data on applications to come to or stay in the UK under the Ukraine Family Scheme and Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/ukraine-family-scheme-application-data?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications-topic&utm_source=dacab083-8f4c-45e4-9b8f-46614afd0493&utm_content=daily
Some guidance from Citizens Advice on hosting a Ukraine refugee
Government guidance for Sponsors
Welcome: a guide for Ukrainians arriving in the UK
Homes for Ukraine Guidance for Councils
If there are any other offers or support or local initiatives taking place that organisers would like added to this page please contact us via: firstname.lastname@example.org with a link to your offer. We are currently updating this page on a daily basis with new information received.
Whilst we await further details from central government on any requirements for a targeted local appeal/support to refugees, the above links to the Disasters Emergency Committee are the best avenue for support at this time. We continue to monitor the situation carefully and in conjunction with Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, Hampshire County Council and other partners shall be sure to formally publicise any further information as it becomes available.