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By Haddenham Webteam - 28th March 2022 6:30pm
Buckinghamshire launches its Ukraine Crisis Fund
Joint press release from the Heart of Bucks Community Foundation and Buckinghamshire Council
Buckinghamshire Council and the Heart of Bucks Community Foundation have launched a crisis fund for people fleeing the current conflict in Ukraine.
Henry Allmand, Chief Executive Officer of the Heart of Bucks Community Foundation said: "The situation for those in the Ukraine is perilous and the outlook is challenging. With many families forced to flee their homes and seek safe refuge elsewhere, we are working in close partnership with Buckinghamshire Council to ensure that charitable donations from the generous residents in Buckinghamshire can be used to provide support to the refugees sheltered here in our wonderful county.
Working closely with the Council we are coordinating the collection of financial donations from across our communities to support newly arrived Ukrainian refugees settling in Buckinghamshire. The funds raised from this appeal will support the vulnerable households that have been given shelter in Buckinghamshire from the war in Ukraine."
Leader of Buckinghamshire Council, Martin Tett, added: "It is heartening to see thousands of people offer to open their homes to a refugee from the current conflict in Ukraine; yet again Buckinghamshire communities display huge generosity in times of crisis.
We know from other refugee programmes how this warm welcome makes all the difference to these extremely vulnerable people fleeing the most horrific circumstances. Many people will not be in a position to open their homes to a Ukrainian family but still want to help in the best way they can. This is why we are supporting the Heart of Bucks Ukraine Crisis Fund as another means of providing support for any arrivals into Buckinghamshire.
We have also formed a local strategic partnership to be in the best possible position across the whole of Buckinghamshire to co-ordinate a strong response to whatever scenario presents. It means we have representatives from across the community, education, health, safeguarding and other services all aligned to support any arrivals as best we can."
Heart of Bucks will make grants to charities and non-profit community organisations who are supporting the Ukrainian refugees, and in some exceptional circumstances, may make small grants to support Ukrainian households directly, when asked to do so by a Council Sponsor Liaison Officer. All funds raised will be distributed in Buckinghamshire.
Making a Donation
For full details and how to pledge your donations visit the Heart of Bucks Total Giving page here
If you would like to contact Heart of Bucks about your donation, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Commentary by Martin Tett
(28 March 2022)
The support being shown to Ukrainian families by the people of Buckinghamshire is tremendous; I'm so proud to say that Buckinghamshire has the second highest number of expressions of interest in the 'Homes for Ukraine' scheme of all council areas, testament to the generosity of the people of Buckinghamshire.
Of course, not everyone is in a position to consider opening their home to people fleeing the conflict, and there are still lots of other ways you can offer support; more details are below.
My last update focussed on the 'Homes for Ukraine' visa scheme — this is the scheme where Ukrainian families can apply for a visa if they have a sponsor, such as a family or charity wishing to offer safe and secure accommodation for at least six months. In this first phase of the scheme, sponsors need the name of a Ukrainian individual or family to fill in the visa application.
People who would like to become sponsors, but do not have a link to a Ukrainian family can, at this stage, register their interest in sponsoring a family — I must underline that the Council plays no part in matching sponsors with Ukrainian families and that this is currently being co-ordinated through charities and other channels. Once a UK household has made contact with a Ukrainian person or family in need of sponsorship and both parties want to proceed, either can fill in and progress the visa application.
The Council has now established an internal team which is coordinating the housing, safeguarding and DBS checks for sponsors who have found guests they would like to stay with them, and all sponsors will be allocated a Sponsor Liaison Officer who will act as a link between the Council, the hosts and the guests from Ukraine. Anyone who wants to know more can look at the dedicated 'Helping Hand for Ukraine' pages on the Buckinghamshire Council website.
I just want to remind you too that the Homes for Ukraine sponsorship scheme is separate from the UK Family Scheme which enables Ukrainian applicants to join family members in the UK — further details about this scheme are on the Government's website.
Ukraine Crisis Fund and other ways to help
I'm delighted to tell you we've now set up a Ukraine Crisis Fund with our partners Heart of Bucks which allows people to donate money that will directly help Ukrainian families arriving in Buckinghamshire. This is similar to how we channelled donations to Afghan families who've also arrived here. The funds have helped us to provide all they need to set up a new life in the county and in the same way, money raised through the Ukraine Crisis Fund will go directly towards helping these people who've fled their homes and arrived here in Bucks.
We also now have a dedicated email address that people can use if they want to offer help in other ways, whether it's donations of supplies, toys, volunteering or translation services. If you think you can help and want to know more, please email email@example.com.
I will keep you posted with updates as we have them and thank you again for the generosity you are showing in the various offers of help to people displaced from their own homes and country under traumatic circumstances.