Response to the Situation in Ukraine

Information prepared by Cornwall Refugee Resource Network

6 March 2022

As ever, Cornwall is stepping forward and humanitarian supplies and money are already being collected. But here are some more thoughts drawn together by Cornwall Refugee Resource Network from various sources about what we can do:

Distribute Aid

(See: https://distributeaid.org/)

Unsurprisingly, the response from the grassroots community has been incredible in showing support for Ukraine and the people living there. Below are listed a few tips on the most effective ways to support groups operating in the countries bordering Ukraine:

Donate money: Donating directly to trusted groups operating in the region is the quickest and most effective way to support groups, their work, and the people they support. We know that the following organisations are actively working in the region:

Disasters Emergency Committee: https://www.dec.org.uk/appeal/ukraine-humanitarian-appeal International Rescue: https://www.rescue-uk.org/

Red Cross: https://www.redcross.org.uk/about-us/what-we-do/international/ukraine UNHCR: https://www.unhcr.org/uk

The chief executive of the Disasters Emergency Committee has urged people to donate money because trying to transport goods from the UK, thousands of miles to Ukraine will take a long time and may not be necessarily what people need when it arrives.

“What we would advise is the things that people collect today here in the UK are not necessarily what people need tomorrow.”

He urged people to “donate cash through a reputable charity”.

The DEC has warned that support for Ukraine is likely to be needed for “months and years” and urged people to keep donating.

If you still plan to go ahead with collecting humanitarian supplies:

Work with trusted partners: Local groups or groups with experience in these types of responses are the best positioned to provide safe and effective services and distributions to people who have left Ukraine.

Ask for needs lists: Ask the receiving groups what their needs are first and communicate with them if you are planning on sending them donations. Needs are often different to what is assumed. Since this freight route will likely be busy and warehouses very full, it is important that the most needed items can make it through!

Plan ahead: Organising a shipment takes time, particularly when considering exports, imports, finances and other requirements. Know what costs you should be expecting, know what timeline you are looking at, and plan accordingly!

If you have questions or need support you can contact Distribute Aid at: logistics@distributeaid.org.

Mission Moldova is a Cornish based organisation which has been sending relief to Moldova, which borders Ukraine, for over twenty years: https://www.moldovaware.co.uk/

Offer a home or shelter

People wishing to welcome Ukrainians by offering accommodation are encouraged to wait for news on how any government programme will operate, which is not yet clear. In the meanwhile, hosting offers can be passed to national bodies Refugees at Home and Room for Refugees.

Please note that the Refugees at Home website presently asks people only to apply to host if they live in a city. But it may be worth getting in touch with them to get their advice.

https://www.refugeesathome.org/ https://www.roomforrefugees.com/

Reset (https://resetuk.org) is the national body coordinating the existing Community Sponsorship Scheme across the UK for Syrian refugees, but they understand that any humanitarian sponsorship scheme for Ukraine may use a different process. There is much talk of process but the situation is still confused at the time of writing. Reset will be sharing updates as further information is received.

Cornwall Council is looking for people to provide lodgings (plus some meals and mentoring) rather than full foster parent role to unaccompanied young asylum seekers from all over the world, (typically aged between 16 and 18).

(https://www.cornwall.gov.uk/council-news/communities-and-housing/could-you-provide-a-home-for- unaccompanied-asylum-seeking-children/

In addition, there are several active community sponsorship groups in Cornwall, who would be happy to hear from new volunteers.

Bude Refugee Support Group: https://buderefugeesupportgroup.org.uk/

Falmouth and Penryn Welcome Refugee Families: https://falmouthandpenrynwelcome.org/ Launceston Refugee Support Group: https://lrsg.org.uk/

Newquay Refugee Support Group: https://www.facebook.com/NewquayRefugeeSupportGroup/ Penwith Welcomes Refugees: https://penwithwelcomesrefugees.org/

Truro Community Refugee Support: https://www.facebook.com/groups/424115915326833

Helping people to leave Ukraine

The government has now responded to the urgent requirement for a humanitarian visa scheme. If people are emailing looking for assistance on their journey to the UK, they can be directed to the Home Office factsheet and helpline:

(https://homeofficemedia.blog.gov.uk/2022/02/25/home-office-action-on-ukraine/)

The Refugee Council and many other organisations are lobbying for changes to make that government response more generous:

https://www.refugeecouncil.org.uk/latest/news/government-response-to-situation-in-ukraine-refugee- council-response/

You may wish to write to your MP about this and/or sign an online petition, for example: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/609530

We must not forget, of course, that there are still refugees from Syria, Afghanistan and other conflicts around the world who continue to need our support.

Keeping each other informed

CRRN has a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/cornwallrrn/

If you have further information, please get in touch: crrn4cornwallrefugees@gmail.com and CRRN will share it. We will do our best to keep this information up to date and add to it.

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