Everyone is horrified by indefensible invasion of Ukraine and there are now a number of ways people in Kent can help from opening up your home to a refugee to donating money to help support an effective humanitarian response to the crisis.
More than four million people in Ukraine are expected to be displaced as the fighting continues.
To provide a safe and warm welcome for some of those refugees here in the UK, the Government has expanded its Family Sponsorship scheme and launched its ‘Homes for Ukraine’ initiative.
This scheme which goes live on Friday (18 March) will enable individuals, charities, community groups and businesses to host Ukrainian refugees and their immediate relations who have no family ties to the UK, in their homes, spare rooms or unoccupied residential self-contained accommodation. Applications can be made via the Homes for Ukraine government website
Hosts will be offered a tax-free payment of £350 a month to open their homes to refugees and as part of the process hosts will also be vetted and Ukrainian applicants will undergo security checks.
For residents wanting to support in other ways, there are a number of charities providing humanitarian relief in Ukraine. This includes the Disasters Emergency Committee Ukraine Appeal, which the UK Government is match-funding, pound-for-pound, £25 million of public donations.
There are also lots of organisations across Kent, the UK and internationally who have launched appeals, and you may wish to donate through these organisations instead. There are some simple steps you can take to ensure your money is safe and being used effectively. Visit https://www.gov.uk/government/news/ukraine-what-you-can-do-to-help for how to make donations safely online.
If you prefer to donate goods and supplies, get in touch with the charities and community groups you want to help to ensure you are giving what they need.
And if you are showing your support for Ukraine on social media you can use the hashtag #StandForUkraine. There are helpful tips about staying safe online on the SHARE checklist here
Roger Gough, Leader of Kent County Council said: “As the deeply saddening crisis in Ukraine continues it is heartening to see so many ways in which we all can support the Ukrainian people at the centre of this atrocity.
“The Ukrainian flag continues to fly over County Hall which is also lit in Ukrainian colours in solidarity with the Ukrainian people and KCC is now ready to provide the practical support needed for the new ‘Homes for Ukraine’ initiative. The Government has announced that local authorities will be provided with funding to deliver the wraparound support needed by refugees coming to the UK. KCC is currently discussing how this can be provided working together with all relevant partners including our district, borough and city councils and building on the support we already provide together to other refugees including those from Syria and Afghanistan.”