Updated 16th March 2022
Here at Voscur we have received lots of enquiries from members, partners and from the wider community in Bristol and surrounding areas, wishing to support and / or volunteer with organisations who are assisting refugees and those still in Ukraine.
We are following the lead of VCS Emergencies Partnership and would ask that the sector encourages donations of time and of money, rather than of goods. This is because unsolicited goods are causing real challenges in terms of huge surplus, sorting needs and inappropriateness of many donations.
We have collated the details of local organisations who support refugees and details of organisations who can help you find suitable volunteering opportunities.
If you want to show your support, please have a look at the information below and make contact with these organisations using the links.
The situation and focus of national and international organisations providing crisis support is changing rapidly and the VCS Emergencies Partnership, has provided a really useful update from some of their key members.
The Ukraine Advice Project UK are a group of volunteer legal professionals with immigration and asylum expertise, who are providing a free service to connect Ukrainian citizens (and others fleeing Ukraine) who are in need of free legal advice on UK immigration, visas and asylum with qualified and regulated lawyers. https://advice-ukraine.co.uk/
Associate of Ukrainians in Great Britain (AUGB) and the Ukrainian Catholic Church are new connections we made in the first few days of the escalation. Many partners are now working closely with the team at AUGB (UK wide) and the UCC (in London) as the sector understands the picture, potential need and begin to provide support.
Rotary have set up a taskforce to help coordinate the support for Ukraine locally and nationally and have begun to provide wrap around support to Ukrainian families who have started to arrive in the UK.
The British Red Cross's primary effort has been in raising funds and supporting fellow Red Cross Societies in Ukraine and surrounding nations. Over 100,000 people have received assistance from Ukrainian Red Cross with the release of emergency relief stocks, the evacuation of people from besieged areas, delivery of food, water and hygiene items to people in shelters, first aid and psychosocial support. BRC teams are providing information management, cash-based assistance, WASH and health support. In the UK, BRC teams have been informing the Government approach, and scenario planning for what may be expected, as well as producing community educations resources to support teachers and parents: guidance on How to talk about conflict impartially, a photo-based resource to help discuss the specific events, the Rules of War, Migration and wellbeing resources and resources for youth workers in partnership with the National Youth Agency to help build resilience.
The Salvation Army has multiple permanent centres across Ukraine itself and in the neighbouring countries, which are all actively involved in delivering humanitarian support.
St John Ambulance are focusing on two areas to aid first response internationally:
* Provision of life saving equipment, including Citizen Aid Tourni-Key+ kits, Public Access Trauma Kits and appropriate medical supplies and;
* Provision of first response education, translated in both Ukrainian and Russian.
The team are considering next steps, this may include the development of care and mental health response infographics to support those taking refuge in the UK
Citizen’s Advice are experiencing significant increases in requests for informationin relation to immigration, including what happens after you get refugee status, how to stay in the UK and getting family to live in the UK after Brexit.
Volunteering Matters are making connections through their wider network, including to Children England collective who can offer advocacy, translation, legal advice and family help.
KPMG have offered support in terms of pro bono professional services to voluntary sector organisations responding to the Ukraine crisis – given the breadth of their potential service offer, we have asked them for a summary of services we may be able to offer to our partners.
New initiatives have started – including schemes like the Sanctuary Foundation who are collecting pledges from people willing to host Ukrainians in the UK.
The UK government have been focused on allowing 200k Ukrainians to come to the UK through the family visa scheme and attempted to reduce the bureaucracy around gaining a visa. The Homes for Ukraine scheme reported 45,000 people signed up in the first few hours. It is not yet clear what information has been given to or expected of local authorities to support this scheme.
The British Red Cross and Emergencies Partnership insight team have developed two documents that may be helpful as partners consider what can be done to prepare:
* Ukraine Scenarios in the UK
* Rapid Early Action Assessment