As the Ukraine war enters its second dreadful year there are clear signs that, far from moving to a resolution, the situation is becoming graver than ever. A Ukrainian counter-offensive and intense Russian resistance is laying waste a country already devastated by a bitter and bloody conflict.
In what have become sadly familiar scenes, the number of people fleeing the war and in need of shelter has only increased amidst continued attacks on objects of civilian infrastructure that are leaving millions living in fear of shelling and destruction.
With their home obliterated and their country immersed in an intense war that shows no signs of ending any time soon, displaced Ukranian families face an uncertain and frightening future.
Thanks to the generosity of the British people, the Homes for Ukraine scheme is enabling those arriving in the UK from Ukraine to find safe temporary accommodation and support in their hosts’ homes.
Saint John of God Hospitaller Services (SJOG), in partnership with Caritas Social Action Network (CSAN), is an official provider of this government scheme, operating in the whole of the UK, and are running a matching, training and support programme for UK-based sponsors and Ukrainian guests under the Homes for Ukraine Scheme. The programme has received funding from The Albert Gubay Foundation and the Department for Levelling up, Housing and Communities.
The purpose of the programme is twofold: to evacuate people from the warzone and prevent homelessness amongst those Ukrainians already in the UK.
As an official provider of the Government programme, SJOG has the expertise, knowledge, and experience to help sponsors navigate the process, support them at every stage, and answer any questions they might have.
“We provide you and your guests with informational resources, such as a Welcome Books that contain detailed instructions and useful relevant information. We provide your guests with instructions on life in the UK and give tips on paperwork, making it less work for you,” said a spokesperson for SJOG.
“We provide training and cultural orientation webinars for hosts, which will help you understand the process of hosting, the steps your guests will need to undertake before and after their arrival in the UK, the checks by the local authorities you will need to undergo, as well as understand the cultural differences that will help you manage your expectations as you prepare for hosting.
“We also help mediate meetings and navigate potential risks for you and your guests, ensuring that your personal data is safe when sharing personal details. We will pay for your guests’ flights from the Ukrainian border to the airport nearest to your home to help your guests save on expenses and reduce the administrative burden on you and your guests. Upon arrival, your guests will receive a Welcome Box from us that contains some essentials and useful sundries to make them feel welcome in the UK and help save on initial expenses.
“ We provide intensive support during the first month of placement and further support if needed throughout the placement. We can also help mediate conflict or direct you or your guests to the relevant services if needed.”
Here’s what one recent sponsor said:
One Ukrainian guest also shared their side of the story: “I am so grateful to the UK government for the Homes for Ukraine Scheme. I feel safe here, away from the sounds of sirens, curfew, and living in constant fear of shelling. The scheme has given me time to find my feet and build a new life in the UK. I have been in the UK for about seven months now, and I have found a job and moved out of my host’s place. I am incredibly grateful for all her help and support; I will be forever grateful.”
While we may not be able to end the war, SJOG believe we can certainly make a difference in the lives of those who have been affected by it.
“Let us come together as a Catholic community and show our support to the Ukrainian people,” said SJOG.
“If you have a spare room or know someone who does, please consider opening your home to an individual or family displaced by Russia’s brutal war. Let us show the people of Ukraine that they are not alone in this difficult time.”
People willing to share their space with those in need of a safe place, can register their interest here: https://forms.office.com/r/DFYUneZ7nC
More information on the project can be found at the following links:
Link to Pray for Peace in Ukraine Pray for Peace in Ukraine – Catholic Bishops’ Conference (cbcew.org.uk)
SJOG is a national charity helping people to lead fulfilling lives. We believe that every person has the right to be supported in a way that does not degrade their dignity. We are part of an international family of 500,000 co-workers, working in 500 centres of care in 50 countries.
Inspired by the life and example of Jesus Christ, CSAN was established by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales to develop the Church’s social action in these parts of the United Kingdom. CSAN share in the mission of the Catholic Church.