Extra support for Ukrainian refugees is available thanks to residents’ fundraising
New funding will be available for Ukrainian refugees escaping war in their homeland by staying with family in Cheshire West and Chester.
Fundraising by Chester-based charity SHARE (Supporting Homeless, Assisting Refugees Everywhere) means that people, who have come to the borough via the national Family Visa Scheme in 2022, can access financial support locally.
The charity has raised £17,000 for Ukrainian refugees since the conflict began in March this year.
This enables the Council to offer an initial payment to those people who have arrived through the Family Visa scheme, as well as set some money aside for future needs.
Cllr Louise Gittins, Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council, said: “The response from the community to help people facing such upheaval and emotional trauma is outstanding. People have literally opened their doors to welcome refugees and provide a safe place to stay, as well as donating money and items to help where possible. SHARE’s contribution to help support the Family Visa Scheme is amazing and we cannot thank them, and our communities, enough.”
Cllr Samantha Dixon, the Council Leader’s Champion for Refugees, said: “The Council’s main role has been to administer the Homes for Ukraine scheme, but we know that there are people who have come to our borough through other schemes and need local support. This money from SHARE means that we can do more to help all Ukrainian refugees in our area.”
Adam Dandy, co-founder of SHARE, said: “We founded SHARE in 2015 to help all those fleeing war torn countries and help anyone homeless here in the UK. So, for us, fundraising to help Ukrainian refugees, when war broke out earlier this year, was really important. Feedback showed us that the people who had the greatest need were those who have come to our area outside of the Homes for Ukraine sponsorship scheme, so it’s great to be able to even things up.
“I want to say a big thank you to our community for helping us to raise these funds and give us chance to make a real difference to people’s lives.”
Meanwhile after just one week’s trading in their new Pepper Street home ShareShop’s takings have exceeded £5800. “This would’ve taken us over a month to make in our old shop, so the difference by having a bigger shop with much more to sell and do, to attract new and returning customers alike, is incredible. The main thing though, is that we can now crack on much faster than planned, in many different and exciting ways to support and assist the people we do. One being to open our Day Centre on City Rd for people who are homeless to 7 days per week, much quicker than we’d originally planned!”
To find out if you, or someone you know is eligible for the funding, visit: www.cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk/ukrainefamilyvisa.