Hundreds of churches across the country, including Church of England parishes, are registering to help ahead of a new UK humanitarian sponsorship scheme for Ukrainian refugees.
Nearly 350 pledges from churches have been registered by the Sanctuary Foundation
, in advance of the launch of the programme, with details expected to be unveiled shortly by the Government.
Organisers are anticipating that sponsors could be asked to help in a range of ways – from finding and furnishing accommodation, to befriending families and helping them to access services and integrate into communities.
The latest figures form the Sanctuary Foundation show 3,530 pledges from groups including churches, individuals, community groups, businesses and schools with 346 churches registered already.
In Chichester Diocese more than 40 churches have signed up after an appeal was circulated earlier this week by the Bishop of Horsham Ruth Bushyager.
She said: “We are united in anguish for the plight of the people of Ukraine, whose country and lives are being devastated by this evil war. Churches have been leading communities in lament, prayer and generous giving in response to the crisis.
“I am very pleased that so many of our churches have responded to the appeal to register as sponsors for the new scheme for Ukrainian refugees. I hope that more churches will be encouraged to join across the country as they become aware of the programme.”
the national charity that trains and supports communities under the existing Community Sponsorship scheme, is working closely with the Sanctuary Foundation on the preparation for the new scheme.
Kate Brown, Co-Director, said: “‘It is fantastic to see so many individuals, organisations and businesses coming forward pledging involvement in the new form of sponsorship for people fleeing the conflict in Ukraine.
“It is really important for government to know that communities are ready to welcome. This scheme will be very different from the existing Community Sponsorship scheme, but we know that at its heart will be the amazing connections that we see built between communities and newcomers’.