At a time of escalated individual and community response, Lincolnshire’s significant caring contribution in supporting refugees over the years is being celebrated during Refugee Week.
The United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees, which marked the beginning of the week with World Refugee Day, defines refugees as people who have fled war, violence, conflict or persecution and have crossed an international border to find safety in another country.
Currently, there are known to be almost 700 Ukrainian refugees who have settled in Lincolnshire as guests of 250 hosts, all of whom have opened their doors under the Homes for Ukraine programme.
This is in direct response to the situation in Ukraine and supported by the Lincolnshire Resettlement Partnership – comprising Lincolnshire councils and a range of public sector agencies and charitable sector organisations all working together – which in recent years has also facilitated the local resettlement of refugees from Syria and Afghanistan.
Additionally, Ukrainians already resident in the county are offering sanctuary to family members under a separate Government backed programme that doesn’t draw on the Resettlement Partnership’s input but is reliant on Lincolnshire’s big community welcome.
Councillor Richard Wright, Leader of North Kesteven District Council and Lincolnshire representative on the East Midlands Migration Board said that through the generous, empathetic and caring response of Lincolnshire people, many refugees had been offered a safe sanctuary and temporary resettlement over many years. He said:
“This wouldn’t be possible without the incredible generosity and support shown by residents who, most recently, have opened their doors to Ukrainians and prior to that supported provision for the resettlement of refugees fleeting Syria, Afghanistan and other nations. They have given generously of their time, money and efforts and their heartfelt support and expression of a ‘Big Lincolnshire Welcome has enabled them all to start rebuilding their lives in comfort, safety and secure confidence.
“To echo the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees: “Every person on this planet has a right to seek safety – whoever they are, wherever they come from and whenever they are forced to flee."
“With this in mind, and especially during Refugee Week, I really want to thank the communities and to people who have opened up their homes to refugees from all over the world in the years. Ever since the Second World War especially we’ve had a history in this country and this county of welcoming people, offering safety and sanctuary and I want to say a great big thank you. We recognise what you have done.”
In respect of the latest Homes for Ukraine initiative, more than 3,200 Lincolnshire households have expressed an interest in offering up their homes as accommodation. With visa applications being approved and arrivals taking place constantly, it is anticipated that there could be 1,000 Ukrainians being housed through Homes for Ukraine in 400 Lincolnshire homes by the end of the summer.
More hosts are currently being sought to ensure a high level of provision. If you or someone you know is interested in providing accommodation for a minimum of six months please get in touch with the Lincolnshire Homes for Ukraine Team on email@example.com for an informal chat and more information.
Sponsors who are successfully matched to Ukrainian guests are offered a £350 per month thank you payment.
Anyone who wants to show support but is unable to offer accommodation, could consider donating to the Lincolnshire Community Foundation’s Ukraine Refugee Appeal. More than £8,000 has already been raised and funds will help to meet the specific, individual and more personal needs of the arriving Ukrainian guests where these are not provided for by statutory support or their hosts. Donations can be made at the Ukraine Refugee Appeal.