The information below is being shared on behalf of North East Churches Acting Together
As we see the crisis in Ukraine unfolding, what can churches do?
Churches could play a pivotal role in welcoming refugees to their communities. There are a number of ways churches can respond and certainly many considerations along the way.
What is the Homes for Ukraine scheme?
The ‘Homes for Ukraine’ scheme has been launched but there are new developments every day. The scheme enables UK nationals to volunteer accommodation and provide a route to safety for Ukrainians forced to escape their homeland.
Sponsors will be required to provide accommodation for as long as they are able, with a minimum of six months.
Ukrainian nationals and their immediate family who were resident in Ukraine prior to 1 January 2022 will be eligible. Those arriving under this scheme will be able to:
- Live and work in the UK for up to three years
- Access healthcare, benefits, employment support, education, and English language tuition
What is involved in hosting?
- You’ll need to have adequate space and privacy to host an individual or family. This will need to include access to washing, laundry and cooking facilities. If you have space for a family with small children, you also need to consider if your house is safe for little ones.
- Sponsors must accommodate someone for at least six months, but this may well be longer. With the situation being so uncertain, it’s impossible to be specific about the time frame.
- Consider the impact that offering a room could have on the rest of your family. You’ll be providing more than a room – you’ll be inviting someone to be part of your family and help them get to know your community.
- Beyond accommodation, you’ll need to be ready to help whoever you host to access advice, healthcare, education, training, and work opportunities.
For those wanting to offer to host:
1. Register your interest with www.reset.org.uk. RESET are contacting those who have offered and will talk with them about the process and offer training before matches are made.
2. The Diocese, and other key partners in the Region will work with Citizens UK to support the provision of homes for Ukrainian refugees and help ensure ongoing community support. Citizens UK is partnering charities in Europe to identify Ukrainian refugees wishing to travel to the UK.
3. Please fill in the form here if you would like more information on the Citizens scheme and/or you have registered with RESET. We will collate this information and hope to work with other recognised charities to match host and guest and link and keep you updated with information and support.
Note, the scheme is run through the UK Government and if a match is made for you either via RESET or via another charity you must still complete the Government application and your guest must apply for a VISA via the UK government.
What else can we do?
Not everyone will be able to accommodate a family in their own home, but we can all play our part. As a church family, we can provide a strong community ready to welcome those arriving in the local area.
Talk in your churches about what you can do, gather offers of help and if you can register that support via this form.
If you as an individual would like to offer help, register using this form.
Support other hosts by offering help, an occasional meal, a lift, a day out for the refugee family.
Explore work opportunities. People coming to the UK will want to work. Could you get in touch with local businesses to see what opportunities there are?
Build friendship networks- this might include your church offering a welcoming space for families to meet together or a place for English classes
What is going on in your community that you can invite people to? Many of those arriving will be women and children so might appreciate and invite to f baby, toddler, and kids’ groups and be willing to accompany families to them.
Families will probably be coming with very few belongings – please don’t collect ahead of time, as often that leads to people collecting lots of stuff that isn’t needed and is inappropriate.
However, vouchers for local shops to buy things such as underwear, personal items, toiletries etc will be greatly appreciated. Be ready to respond if a specific item is needed (a pushchair, walking aids for the elderly). Talk with local charity shops, they may be very happy to allow families to visit and choose what they need.
Donate funds to support those working with Refugees:
Disaster’s Emergency Committee humanitarian appeal for Ukraine. You can find out more and donate here.
Rob and Margaret Bianchi, have launched an emergency Ukraine appeal via their UK-based charity ODM. ODM supports the ARCA project in Moldova, which is helping in the effort to provide shelter and supplies for Ukrainian refugees.
If you would like to make a donation, please bank transfer to Rob and Margaret Bianchi:
Account name: ODM Creative Communications
Sort Code: 77-20-14
Account No: 16275360 Please put as the reference: Holercani
Church of England have published a Toolkit.
RESET are offering a matching portal for those in the UK and in those needing accommodation, their website also offers information about the Homes for Ukraine scheme.
Tear fund have a useful guide to praying for Ukraine.
Welcome Churches – Explore how you can support those arriving from the UK most effectively.
Sanctuary Foundation – Register to receive the latest information and find out more about what hosting a family would involve and what churches can do.
Baby Basics – Access essential equipment for families arriving in the UK, or donate to ensure
Refugee Education UK – Find out more about supporting children and young people.