A NEW community organisation is appealing for the help of South Warwickshire residents in supporting Ukrainian refugees moving to the area to escape the ongoing war in their homeland.
Hand in Hand: Ukraine Response is working to ensure the Government’s Homes for Ukraine concept is delivered on a regional level – with the not-for-profit group matching South Warwickshire residents with refugees while providing support to both.
Founders Michael Wang, Elena Ignateva and Alex Price have lived and worked in Eastern Europe, providing specialist educational support to Moldova in particular, where more than 100,000 Ukrainians have fled following the Russian invasion.
They are hoping to use their experiences and contacts to act as a knowledgeable co-ordination team for displaced Ukrainians settling in the area.
And they have been busy doing their bit for the cause – having already matched more than 20 Coventry and Warwickshire residents and submitted over 40 visa applications on behalf of prospective arrivals.
Michael, joint-founder and director of Hand in Hand: Ukraine Response in Coventry, said: “Although the Government’s response is a start, we believe the process of getting Ukrainian refugees into UK homes needs to be much more detailed and applicable at a local level, which is the main reason why we created our project.
“We’ve seen a hugely positive response so far and are keen to meet with as many potential hosts who’ve kindly offered their properties to us as possible to ensure they’re aware of the stringent matching and safety processes in place for this initiative in Coventry and Warwickshire.
“If you’re keen to learn more about and assist us with our mission, please do get in touch. Any support you can give would be greatly appreciated.”
A fund-raising page has been set up to help the charity maximise the local support network available to Ukrainian refugees upon their arrival, with over £1,300 secured so far.
A significant portion of the funds received will be spent on enhancing the initial experience of locally-arriving Ukrainians by setting up a hotline for any day-to-day questions.
Hand in Hand plans to further its commitment to the fledgling Ukrainian population in the area by employing one of the new arrivals as full-time community co-ordinator, ensuring new arrivals have a Ukrainian/Russian speaking point of contact they can regularly consult as they settle in to their new surroundings.
Michael added: “Through no fault of their own, innocent people from Kyiv to Kherson are having to lay down new roots in countries all across Europe.
“During this challenging time for them, we want to make the process as smooth as possible for any displaced Ukrainians coming to Coventry and Warwickshire. It’s important they know there is an organisation in place that can support them from day one and make a real difference to their lives by providing them with the necessities needed to move forward.”
To register an interest as a host, as well as having the opportunity to learn more about the Homes for Ukraine campaign, visit www.handinhandwithrefugees.co.uk/homes.
Donations to the Homes for Ukraine Support Coventry & Warwickshire can be made at www.crowdfunder.co.uk/p/homes-for-ukraine-support.