Supporting Ukrainians in the UK

UK Community Foundations and the Freemasons’ charity have seen vital services getting the support they need across England and Wales through the £500,000 Ukrainian Support Fund.

The £500,000 Ukrainian Support Fund, provided by the Freemasons' charity and distributed by the UKCF network, launched last year following the invasion of Ukraine. It has helped local charities and community organisations that are providing support for refugees arriving from Ukraine, supporting the direct delivery of services for individuals’ and families’ social integration in the UK.

How the Ukrainian Support Fund has supported local organisations:

Hampshire and Isle of Wight Community Foundation (HIWCF) has distributed over £30,000 in grants, funding a range of activities including equine-assisted therapy and English language classes.

Alexandra Kenchington, Director at Bridge to Unity, a charity in Gosport, funded by HIWCF, said:

“Since the start of the war in Ukraine, Bridge to Unity has been active in assisting those on the ground in Ukraine and also in welcoming to the UK those fleeing the war. The support from HIWCF and the Freemasons’ charity is going to enable us to continue this work and ensure refugees feel welcomed and supported.”

Essex Community Foundation has distributed £26,765 in grants to four organisations.

The funding has enabled groups like Refugee, Asylum Seeker & Migrant Action to increase the work and hours they can provide to vulnerable Ukrainian families, to support them through their distress and trauma.

One funded group, Unpuzzled Theatre CIC, has been working with young people from Ukraine along with young people in Southend-On-Sea to adapt a traditional Ukrainian folk tale into an interactive theatre workshop for children and young people.


Unpuzzled Theatre CIC in Essex

Heart of England Community Foundation has distributed £39,894 in grants to four organisations, which is funding ESOL drop-in sessions and providing accommodation for Ukrainians working on their immigration status.

Entraide (Mutual Aid), received funding by Heart of England Community Foundation. Its Chair, Kupay, said:

"We have been working with Ukrainian refugees since the start of the war in February 2022. Many Ukrainian refugees arriving in our area have witnessed a lot of traumatic events back home. They have been forced to abandon their homes and loved ones to save their lives. The award will enable our organisation to help more Ukrainian refugees in Solihull and the surrounding area to access all the support they need so that they can to start rebuilding their lives and fully integrate into our local community.”

Kent Community Foundation has distributed £45,000 in grants to seven organisations, supporting family workshops, information hubs, weekend activities, and other socially inclusive provisions.

Giles Polglase from Canterbury for Ukraine (C4U), which is supporting Ukrainians and host families in the Canterbury district and East Kent with funding from Kent Community Foundation, said:

“Canterbury for Ukraine (C4U) brings local volunteers, charity organisations, education providers and local businesses together to support Ukrainian families coming to the Canterbury area in their search for safety – it is a truly community-based association run by volunteers who give their time freely. This award will both help coordinating the activities of C4U centrally and sustain activities over the next period; it will help us do more and remain responsive to the needs of Ukrainian displaced persons and their hosts.”

Hertfordshire Community Foundation has so far distributed £9,527 in grants to three organisations, one of which was the South Hill Centre in Hemel Hempstead. Part of the South Hill Centre funding went towards a Christmas party for Ukrainian refugees in 2022 and is also funding weekly support sessions.

One Ukrainian refuge attending the St Nicholas Day event said:

“I think the children will forever remember this Nicholas day, when they were able to celebrate the holiday far from the Motherland, at a time when their native city is burning.”

Sussex Community Foundation has distributed £58,500 in grants to 13 organisations, which is funding English lessons, delivering IT equipment in connection with employment, SIM cards, and accommodation support.

Dr Sarah Milne from His Pace in Hastings, which is supporting around 80 young Ukrainian refugees through Sussex Community Foundation funded workshops, said:

“The young people were so excited when we discussed ideas and plans. Thank you so much.”

East End Community Foundation received £58,500 to distribute to local groups supporting refugees in Hackney, Newham, Tower Hamlets, and City of London.

Matt Powell from Breaking Barriers, in East London, a charity funded by East End Community Foundation, said:

"The war in Ukraine – together with other crises in countries including Afghanistan, Ethiopia and Iran – means that there has never been a greater need to welcome and support refugees here in the UK. Thanks to our grant from the Ukrainian Support Fund, we'll be able to provide much-needed 1:1 employment advice and guidance to over 600 refugees – a number of whom will indeed be Ukrainian. At Breaking Barriers, we are determined to be there for all who need us at this challenging time.”

Community Foundation for Lancashire and Merseyside has distributed £31,500 in grants to four organisations, funding the provision of mental health support and creating a safe place for young Ukrainian people to build on their digital skills.

Peter Mitchell from the Big Help Project, in Liverpool, which was funded by the Community Foundations for Lancashire and Merseyside, said:

“This funding will break down barriers of accessibility, promoting access to public services, fun activities, cultural events, and essential emergency provision of housing and food.”


Volunteers and Ukrainian attendees at the Big Help Project

Community Foundation Wales added their allocation to their Nation of Sanctuary Croeso Fund which provides support for people displaced by conflict who are seeking sanctuary in Wales.

UARE UK received a grant from the Nation of Sanctuary Croeso Fund to support the opening of the ‘Home’ hub in Wrexham and to create the NOMMO (No More Missing Out) fund for children of refugee and asylum-seeking families.

One parent using the service said:

“We have a place to come now to be with other people and feel part of something. I feel my children are supported and people care. Thank you for what this has done for our family.”


Refugees and asylum seekers have received much support through the Nation of Sanctuary Croeso Fund

Community Foundation for Surrey has distributed £45,000 in grants to six organisations, which is funding support services for displaced Ukrainian people.

Rosemary Macdonald, CEO at UK Community Foundations, said:

“These UK projects are vital to the long-term inclusion and integration of refugees and asylum seekers who are seeking a safer life. They did not choose this direction but should have every right to feel welcomed and included in their new communities. With flexible funding from partners like the Freemasons’ charity, these essential services can continue to provide this support and help people to rebuild their lives.”

Les Hutchinson, Chief Executive of the Masonic Charitable Foundation, the Freemason’s charity, said:

“I am delighted that we have been able to offer significant aid to many Ukrainians who have arrived in this country. They have abandoned everything in a country grappling with the consequences of a catastrophic conflict, and I am proud that the assistance provided by the Freemasons is making such a difference.”

Though a year has passed since the invasion of Ukraine, its impact will undoubtedly last for many years to come and continue to inflict suffering on the millions of displaced Ukrainians around Europe. But sadly, Ukraine is but one of the many countries facing conflict and discrimination around the world, with thousands of people being forced to flee their homes every day.

If you or your organisation would like to get involved in supporting local community action then you can find your nearest community foundation here.

Looking to make a difference nationally? Start a conversation with UKCF today.

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