How can I help Ukraine? How Sunderland residents can donate money to causes and host refugees in their homes
The scenes of Ukrainian residents fleeing their homes in the hope of safety contime to be beamed across the world this week and to those in the UK, it may feel as though there is little we can do to assist those in need.
It has been estimated that over two million Ukrainians have now fled their home country with the UN high commisioner calling the mass exodus as the fastest-growing refugee crisis in Europe since World War Two.
Groups across the world are looking to support those who are looking to remain in their home nation in addition to those hoping to find safety elsewhere.
The largest crisis appeal from the region is being led by the Ukrainian arm of the Red Cross. The group are constantly reacting to humanitarian disasters in the region following the attack from Vladimir Putin’s army which escalated on Thursday and offer those in need food, water, first aid, medicines, warm clothes and shelter.
Anyone wanting to donate money can do so online, over the phone by calling 0300 023 0820 or by post while the British Red Cross are also collecting donations to be sent to eastern Europe.
People In Need are a similar group looking to ensure those affected by the conflict are given the aid they need. It is believed the group is assisting over 200,000 people by providing food packages, emergency shelter and safe access to drinking water in addition to hygiene items.
Those looking to assist in the refugee effort also have plenty of options, with the UN Refugee Agency looking for donations in addition to Refugee Action, a UK based group who fight for the rights of refugee rights across the world.
UNICEF, the United Nation’s children’s charity, is also accepting donations for young people in the region to ensure the relevant local children’s protective services remain in a position to help children in need.
Another option is a fundraiser put together by the Sunflower of Peace group who are sending shipments of medical supplies for paramedics and doctors within Ukraine.
United Help Ukraine is another charity looking to support those in need. They are focused on providing humanitarian aid while also continuing to raise awareness of the conflict and its impact on those in the region.
Worldwide charity Save The Children are also hosting a donation appeal for children impacted in Ukraine as well as those who have been forced to flee. The charity provide life saving aid to young people across the world in addition to offering legal support and safe shelter.
Write to your MP
Writing a letter to your local MP can help put pressure on the government to act. This could include pushing for further sanctions on Russia or looking to push the Government into furthering the support of the ongoing humanitarian and refugee efforts within the region.
Support local journalism
A huge amount of the information we know about the conflict is coming from journalists who are bravely staying in Ukraine to tell the stories of the conflict. The Kyiv Independent is an English language media outlet based in the Ukrainian capital city which only started in 2021 and the oraganisation’s journalists have played a pivotal role in ensuring the atrocities in Ukraine are being reported on across the world.
Since the start of the invasion, the publication have been a vital source for the rest of the world’s understanding of the crisis, and as it continues their work will continue to remain hugely important.
Can I sponsor a visa application for a Ukrainian refugee?
As things stand, the visa scheme does not allow for sponsorship of a refugee, however Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said that the government is working to change this.
The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities is expected to announce new rules for Ukrainian refugees with no family ties to the UK to make the move to Britain.
Local authorities or communities are likely to be able to sponsor those in this group.
Am I able to host Ukrainian refugees in my home?
As things stand, only those with links to the UK are able to enter the country as Ukrainian citizens and therefore those coming over are likely to find some form of residence, although you can open your home up to a refugee if you are willing.
The UK Government have announced a scheme to encourage UK households to take in Ukrainian refugees. The ‘Homes for Ukraine’ scheme offers each household £350 per month to take in someone who has been displaced by the conflict in Eastern Europe.
Sponsors will be asked to provide homes or a spare room rent-free for as long as they are able, with a minimum stay of 6 months. The website to sign up for the scheme is now live.
Refugees At Home is just one non-governmental resource you can register with to help connect yourself with refugees in need of a room. You can also donate to them here.
Positive Action in Housing is another charity which is always on the lookout for people to open their doors for those in need.
In addition to the work in ensuring housing, the group also work to represent refugees in legal aspects such as ensuring they understand their rights as well as offering emergancy humanitarian support and welfare and money skills advice. The group are also accepting donations on their website.