Families and children fleeing Ukraine are starting to arrive in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland as councils, NHS, Police, East Midlands Airport and other organisations team up to provide vital support and a safe place to live.
Based on the data provided by the Government, the area is currently planning to welcome around 500 refugees who, over the next few months, are due to live with people who have offered space in their houses through the Government’s Home for Ukraine scheme.
This week, a new welcome point has opened at East Midlands Airport – one of over 30 nationwide – and local councils have started carrying out housing, welfare and safeguarding checks.
Around 20 partners are working together under the Local Resilience Forum (LRF) to make sure refugees have access to vital services and support including accommodation, safeguarding, healthcare, education, translation and employment.
Deborah Taylor, deputy leader of Leicestershire County Council, said: “People leaving Ukraine have been uprooted from their home and experienced terrible trauma. Our commitment to supporting families and children is resolute and I’m pleased that partners have come together so quickly to offer the wealth of support the refugees arriving need.”
Leicester’s city mayor, Peter Soulsby, added: “Leicester has a long history of welcoming those fleeing persecution, war and conflict. We have council officers working hard to ensure that Ukrainian refugees will get the support they need, on arrival and beyond, and we’re proud to offer this support.”
Councillor Samantha Harvey, Cabinet Member for Health, Wellbeing and Adult Care, said: “More and more Ukrainian families will be arriving in our region over the coming weeks and months, having been forced from their homes and witnessed unimaginable suffering. The community networks and partnerships we have across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland will be key to providing them with the right help, as well as showing that we are all truly united in our support for Ukraine and its people. We already have an encouraging number of sponsors who’ve come forward in Rutland and stand ready to welcome our Ukrainian guests.”
Cllr Phil King, Leader of Harborough District Council and Chair of the District Leaders’ Group, said: “Leicestershire District Councils are absolutely committed to supporting the people of Ukraine who have had their lives turned upside down. We will be ensuring that the accommodation that sponsors provide is suitable for our Ukrainian guests and working with partners to ensure families and children receive the support they need and are welcomed into our communities.”
Bo Prychidnyj, from the Leicester Ukrainian Community Centre, said: “The Leicester and Leicestershire Ukrainian Community welcomes our Ukrainian brothers and sisters arriving in Leicestershire. We offer our support and assistance to you all as you settle into a hopefully safe and
secure environment. We wish to thank the various Council bodies for your hard work and hope we can continue to work closely together in supporting both refugees and sponsors.”
The welcome point desk provides initial advice, information and humanitarian support to arrivals from Ukraine and their sponsors.
In Leicestershire, required checks are being carried out by the local authorities with the county council leading on welfare and safeguarding checks and district councils running housing checks for community sponsors.
For people living in Leiceste at leicester.gov.uk/ukraine
For people living in Leicestershire at leicestershire.gov.uk/support-for-ukraine
Partners band together to support Ukrainian refugees – media release (PDF, 123KB)
The number of people is based on visa applications received nationally and the final figure may differ as we get updated information from the Government.
Over 80 per cent of the total are currently expected in Leicestershire, with about 15 per cent in Leicester and five per cent in Rutland.
The LRF brings together local public services, including the Police, Fire and Rescue, NHS and others and works to prevent, respond to and recover from emergencies.
Download this media release