Borough sets up emergency fund for Ukrainian refugees in West Norfolk
West Norfolk Council and its Lily service is offering further support to individuals arriving from the Ukraine, in the shape of a voucher or items, to fill the gap between their arrival in the area and access to Government support.
The council is setting aside an emergency fund of £7,500 from the West Norfolk Wins lottery to provide support to individuals in need of life essentials.
This funding has been raised by individuals who have played the local lottery.
The fund will be administered through its Lily service and any requests for support should be directed to them via the website.
Individuals can self-refer through the website, or third parties can refer on their behalf by completing the referral form. Lily Support Workers will also be able to signpost individuals to any other local or regional support.
Stuart Dark, leader of the counci, said: "Anyone who has seen the harrowing scenes coming out of Ukraine understands the real and urgent need to help those affected. We are pleased that we have been able to move swiftly to support people arriving in West Norfolk.
"The contributions that people have made by purchasing West Norfolk Wins lottery tickets are being put to good use to support those who are fleeing their homes in the Ukraine.
"We envisage that those arriving from the Ukraine will have very few possessions with them, and while they will be entitled to access benefits, it can take a little while for those to kick in. This fund will be there to fill that gap in the short term.
"The compassion that people have shown is astounding. We expect that many refugees from the Ukraine will come here to be with family members or to settle in a community that can support them. This fund will show that we are ready to welcome them and support them through this distressing time.
"We would encourage any organisations working with people from Ukraine to refer anyone in need to us. We have already shared this information with The Hanseatic Union and Access so that they can signpost any individuals that they work with to this additional support."
Terry Parish, leader of the Independent group, said: "The Independent group of councillors welcomes the provision of emergency financial support to refugees that the council is making available prior to any government support commencing.
"Additional funding, from other possible sources within the budget, will also be considered favourably."
Charles Joyce, leader of the Labour group, said: "For all who wish to live in a community at peace with itself, walking by on the other side is not an option. When people need immediate help, it is beyond measure the difference even a small amount of help will make to their lives."
Support will be allocated through an assessment of need and will be provided either in the form of a voucher or actual items required, whether that be food, clothing or support with fuel costs.
In addition the Hanseatic Union and Access are providing wellbeing support for those affected by the conflict in Ukraine.
They have received funding from Norfolk Community Foundation to extend the support they can provide in the local community.
They will be offering three types of support:
* The workshop, based in Kings Lynn, is delivering sessions in local primary schools to help children process their feelings through drama,
* Support through email or Facebook for people who want to contact multilingual staff to share and talk through their emotions
* Relaxation and social sessions at Access, Hospital Mews, Lynn on March 29, 7-9pm. A drop-in session for sharing, and learning relaxation skills, to have a cuppa, to give everyone time to chat and connect.
Julie Chaplin, from the Hanseatic Union, said: "The war in Ukraine is a terrible time and we, as always, are here to help everyone in our community. Anyone who feels alone or frightened can get in touch with us and talk,or come to our social event to chat.”
Inna Celinska, from Access, added: "The impact of the war in Ukraine is being felt in all communities. Our main client group is from Eastern Europe. They have been affected significantly due to historical events and close ties with Ukraine and Russia. We would like to offer our support to those who are finding it hard to manage their thoughts or feelings. With additional funding our Project Workers have extra time to provide emotional support, listen to concerns and to talk about worries."
Mr Dark added: "It is great to see the West Norfolk community coming together to support those affected, through donations and offers of accommodation. I am pleased that we, and others, are able to add to that support.
The Hanseatic Union: Facebook - Hansos Unija. Access: email@example.com
West Norfolk Council - www.west-norfolk.gov.uk - click on Ukraine Crisis - for useful links
Government Homes for Ukraine campaign - https://homesforukraine.campaign.gov.uk/