Group to meet to provide Leicestershire homes for Ukraine refugees

A new group is to meet for the first time tomorrow (Friday) to help resettle refugees fleeing Ukraine in homes across Leicestershire and Rutland.

By Nick Rennie
Thursday, 10th March 2022, 4:22 pm
KRAKOVETS, UKRAINE - MARCH 09: Refugees fleeing conflict make their way to the Krakovets border crossing with Poland on March 09, 2022 in Krakovets, Ukraine. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images) (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images) EMN-221003-161803001
KRAKOVETS, UKRAINE - MARCH 09: Refugees fleeing conflict make their way to the Krakovets border crossing with Poland on March 09, 2022 in Krakovets, Ukraine. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images) (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images) EMN-221003-161803001

It is expected that more than 200,000 people could come to the UK as a result of the Russian invasion which started two weeks ago.

So Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Local Resilience Forum (LRF) has set up a Ukrainian Refugees Group to help find local homes for those who are displaced following the military bombardment of their homeland.

The group is made up of the nine Leicestershire local authorities and Rutland County Council, the police and fire services, as well as NHS representatives, charities such as the British Red Cross and government officials from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

Anastazya from Kiev holds her dog as they warm by fire after crossing the Ukrainian border into Poland, at the Medyka border crossing, southeastern Poland on March 10, 2022. (Photo by Louisa GOULIAMAKI / AFP) (Photo by LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP via Getty Images) EMN-221003-161823001

Leicestershire County Council is also preparing to help find school places for children, as well as supporting new arrivals with social care.

Cllr Nick Rushton, leader at County Hall, said: “We haven’t been given firm details about numbers of Ukrainian refugees coming here but we, as a council, and all our partners, must be ready to help them in every way they need.

“That’s why we have mobilised this resilience forum group early on.

“We are expecting mainly women and children who will have experienced terrible violence, trauma and disruption to their lives and they will need a lot of support.

A Polish soldier helps families to carry their belongings after crossing the Ukrainian-Polish border at the Medyka border crossing, southeastern Poland, on March 10, 2022.(Photo by Louisa GOULIAMAKI / AFP) (Photo by LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP via Getty Images) EMN-221003-161813001

“We will need proper government support to make sure they get all the help and support they require.

“It is morally the right thing to do.”

More than two million people have so far escaped the violence in Ukraine since Russian forces invaded, with many migrating to neighbouring nations such as Poland.

The UK government has extended a scheme to issue more visas to Ukrainians with relatives in the country and details are awaited of a ‘community sponsorship’ scheme which will support the arrival of others seeking refuge.

Councillor Rushton continued: “I’ve already had lots of emails from ordinary people pledging their help and support, such as the offer of a spare room.

“It’s wonderful that, once again, Leicestershire people are showing their generosity and willingness to help those in desperate need.”

He added: “The LRF group will coordinate efforts and consider how to best help Ukrainians.

“It’s the very least we can do to assist those in a very desperate situation.”

The Government has set up a website to advise people how they can make donations and apply to sponsor refugees from Ukraine.

Go to www.gov.uk/government/news/ukraine-what-you-can-do-to-help to get involved.