Asylum Welcome, the Oxford-based refugee charity, is gearing up to support the many groups, organisations and individuals who have offered to host people fleeing the war in Ukraine.
The government’s ‘Homes for Ukraine’ scheme allows people with space in their homes to offer a room to an individual or family escaping the conflict in Ukraine. Despite the organisation’s concerns around the scheme’s design, Asylum Welcome is heartened by the extraordinary expression of generosity from the public in response to the scheme, and is determined to help make it work.
Extrapolating from national figures, Asylum Welcome estimates that well over a thousand people from across the county will have registered to host new arrivals. Asylum Welcome seeks to provide hosts with support and guidance, to make the best of this exciting and challenging new arrangement. This will be a first hosting experience for many, so Asylum Welcome will help and support prospective and new hosts and guests when they arrive and in the first few months following their arrival.
Asylum Welcome is working with councils and others to design a more comprehensive programme; the organisation has already recruited staff to support the surge in work. Last week, Asylum Welcome organised a meeting attended by councils and around a hundred local organisations and groups, both formal and informal, who wanted to learn more about the ‘Homes for Ukraine’ scheme and how it will work in Oxfordshire, and explore what support would be most useful.
Mark Goldring, director of Asylum Welcome, says:
“I want to say thank you to the thousands of people across the county who have expressed their wish to support people fleeing the war in Ukraine. It shows the generosity of the British public. The government needs to ensure that the access routes for Ukrainians and indeed all others fleeing violence are made simpler, to ensure that those driven out by conflict are able to benefit from the generosity and kindness being shown by our communities. Asylum Welcome are determined to play our part in supporting the generous hosts and the new arrivals.”
Asylum Welcome stands in solidarity with all people fleeing the conflict in Ukraine and reaffirms its commitment to support all displaced people arriving in the UK by offering practical help and lobbying for fairer, more dignified routes to sanctuary. The charity is appealing for public donations to enable it to run its Ukraine service without affecting its work with refugees from many other less-publicised wars, conflicts and regimes. We welcome offers of support from people with relevant language skills. Donate here or email Ukraine@asylum-welcome.org to offer support.
About the Government’s ‘Homes for Ukraine’ Scheme
The ‘Homes for Ukraine’ scheme opened for applications on 18th March. Under this scheme, UK residents are able to sponsor Ukrainains and their family members to stay with them (either in their home, or in another property) for a minimum of six months. The government has launched a website where individuals or community groups can register their interest in hosting. There will be no cap on the number of Ukrainians who can come under the scheme. This scheme runs parallel to the Ukrainian Family Scheme, allowing those without family members in the UK to come to Britain. The scheme has been controversial, however, with many organisations speaking out about its limitations. More details about the scheme can be found on Asylum Welcome’s website here.