COUNCIL leaders across Worcestershire have unanimously pledged to support and welcome Ukrainian refugees to the county.
Civic heads confirmed the welcome in a joint statement of support for those fleeing the war-torn country.
Worcestershire County Council and the six district councils are working together with local communities, using their experience of supporting refugees over the last few years, to ensure the county can offer the best experience to those arriving from Ukraine.
Details from the Government have started to be shared on the number of sponsors for ‘Homes for Ukraine’ and potential numbers of Ukrainian guests that will be welcomed into Worcestershire.
Current information suggests nearly 100 sponsors in Worcestershire have been matched to Ukrainian families on the scheme, which means the county could be welcoming more than 200 guests.
“The situation in Ukraine has shocked us all locally, nationally and internationally and our thoughts are with all those who have been affected,” the statement said.
“As leaders of the seven councils across Worcestershire, we have unanimously pledged to support in as far as we are able, those arriving to our county from Ukraine with a One Worcestershire approach.
“We’d like to thank residents across Worcestershire for their continuing support.”
The County Council’s role will be to support sponsor families to gain the relevant background checks needed and also to gather and mobilise wider support that may be needed for both sponsor families and guests when they arrive.
To help with this, the already well established Here2Help service run by the County Council is evolving to help organise and link up those wishing to offer help to those who may need help or advice.
Here2Help will also become the hub for information when families start to arrive and therefore details of how to access support will be included in welcome packs which are being produced.
There is specifically a request for those individuals, organisations or services who are in a position to provide practical and/or emotional, and translation support and are not already registered on the Community Services directory, to register online as soon as possible.
When the guests start to arrive, council staff will be working closely with them and their sponsor families to understand what additional support they may need in terms of donations from residents and businesses.
Libraries in each district have also become hubs for residents to find trusted information about how they can help, access a wide variety of information and will also be locations where Ukrainian families can meet and use our services and they have increased their stock of books which will be useful for the county’s Ukrainian guests.
Anyone interested in becoming a sponsor by offering accommodation should register at www.gov.uk/register-interest-homes-ukraine
Visit www.worcestershire.gov.uk/ukrainesupport for more.