More than £23,000 has already been generously donated to a Welcome Fund appeal to help people who are fleeing war-torn Ukraine start building a new life in Northamptonshire.
The appeal, co-ordinated by the Northamptonshire Community Foundation (NCF) which was set up to support disadvantaged people and communities, was launched just this week.
Funds donated will be used to ensure community groups and charities preparing to welcome Ukrainian refugees have access to resources to support families and individuals fleeing the conflict.
NCF deputy chief executive officer Rachel McGrath, who is co-ordinating the appeal, said: “We welcome the care, concern and generosity of local people and donors at this time.
“These funds are so urgently and desperately needed to support the resettlement response on the ground and enable charities to provide a safety net in resettlement.
"We have been working with community foundation colleagues across Europe including Ukraine.
“We have seen the response on the ground by community foundations in Ukraine, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, and Romania and how they have mobilised volunteers and collected funds to provide immediate relief and to aid refugees.
“Community foundations in the UK are also playing their part in that emergency response and that is why we are launching our Welcome Fund appeal to ensure community groups and charities preparing to welcome Ukrainian refugees have access to funds and resources to ensure families and individuals fleeing the conflict and violence are made to feel welcome, safe and well.”
Local authorities have been tasked with co-ordinating the Government’s activity, particularly around the Homes for Ukraine scheme.
North Northants Council will be provided with £10,500 per person relocated to their area, from which they will be required to assess host properties, carrying out Disclosure and Barring Service checks on hosts, provide immediate financial assistance – potentially until access to benefits and work entitlement is arranged – and continuing to support the household over the first 12 months.
Council staff in North Northamptonshire are in the process of contacting sponsors, who will be hosting Ukrainian visitors, about necessary property and security checks.
Cllr Jason Smithers, leader of North Northamptonshire Council, said: “We’ve all seen the images on the news of the devastation and chaos which is being wreaked on Ukraine, so it’s only right that we do what we can to support people seeking solace here in the UK.
“In times such as these the people of North Northants show tremendous generosity and kindness and the people from Ukraine will be made to feel very welcome.”
North and West Northamptonshire Councils will be supporting the Government in its efforts to help resettle refugees from Ukraine.
Details are still being worked through but it has been confirmed that once refugees have been matched with host families, they can begin the visa application process.
The Government is carrying out the visa checks and once these are cleared, applicants will be given leave to travel to the UK.