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Homes for Ukraine and more: What can South Somerset do to help those affected by the conflict in Ukraine?

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South Somerset District Council stands with all those affected by the conflict in Ukraine.

Council Leader Val Keitch said:

“A terrible human tragedy is now unfolding before our very eyes and we must stand with the people of Ukraine. Our thoughts are with all those who are affected by this crisis.

“Many residents in the district will no doubt be thinking about what they can do to help in terms of supporting the humanitarian response to this crisis.

“There are a number of national fundraising efforts underway through the Red Cross and other charities, and we are committed to helping in any way we can.”

How can I support the Home for Ukraine Government Scheme?

South Somerset District Council are working together with Somerset County Council, Mendip District Council, Sedgemoor District Council, Somerset West and Taunton Council, the Somerset NHS Clinical Commissioning Group, Avon and Somerset Police, local charities and community groups to carry out checks and help Ukrainian refugees settle safely in Somerset.

A new webpage has been set up to provide information and support for Somerset households who have volunteered to sponsor Ukrainian refugees. This includes a digital form which should be completed by sponsors who are matched with refugees. This will help local services to carry out the checks sponsors need to safely welcome their guests.

Visit www.somerset.gov.uk/Ukraine

On this webpage you will also find information on other ways Somerset residents can support Ukraine, with links to local and national charities and helplines.

How else can I help?

A number of UK charities are responding to the conflict in Ukraine. By choosing to support one of the below recommended charities you could help provide Ukrainian citizens with potentially life-saving essentials like food, water and shelter.

  • The British Red Cross has launched an emergency appeal to respond to the growing crisis in Ukraine.
  • UNICEF is especially concerned for the safety and wellbeing of children in Ukraine. Its work helps to provide children and their families with access to clean water and nutritious food in addition to accessible child health and protection services.
  • The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has launched an emergency appeal to send more resources, staff and aid to Ukraine’s neighbours, who are taking in hundreds of thousands of refugees.
  • The UK’s Ukrainian Embassy has set up its own donation service, With Ukraine, meanwhile Polish Humanitarian Action is supplying hygiene products, food and blankets to those in need on the Ukrainian/Polish border.
  • So far, the UK Government has matched, pound-for-pound, £25 million of public donations to the Disasters Emergency Committee Ukraine Appeal.
  • London’s Ukrainian Institute also has a round-up of support methods here.
  • At Tesco, you can mow help by donating in-store at the self-service tills or online with your Clubcard vouchers. They will match your donations up to £700,000 in the UK. Find out more here

Locally,

  • School in a Bag works with two existing charity partners who are right at the forefront of the Ukrainian crisis - to get School Bags to families who have fled Ukraine seeking refuge in neighbouring countries. You can find out more about its work here - https://www.schoolinabag.org/campaign/ukraine-crisis-appeal/

Give Safely 

The Charity Commission and Fundraising Regulator have urged the public to ‘give safely’ to registered charities helping and supporting those affected by the invasion of Ukraine.

By giving to a registered, regulated charity, the public can have assurance that their funds will be accounted for in line with the charity law framework. Established charities with experience of responding to disasters are usually best placed to reach victims on the ground.

People looking to donate to causes working in Ukraine and neighbouring countries, should make a few simple checks before giving:

1. Check the charity's name and registration number at www.gov.uk/checkcharity

2. Make sure the charity is genuine before giving any financial information 

3. Be careful when responding to emails or clicking on links within them 

4. Contact or find out more online about the charity that you're seeking to donate to or work with to understand how they are spending their funds 

5. Look out for the Fundraising Badge on charity fundraising materials, this is the logo which shows that a charity has committed to fundraise in line with the Code of Fundraising Practice. 

What are South Somerset District Council doing to help? 

'Concert for Ukraine' was on Friday 1 April and 'Rock for Ukraine' was on Friday 22 April. 

Together, the events raised an incredible £8,684.85 for School in a Bag’s Ukraine Crisis Appeal and the Disasters Emergency Committee’s Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal. All ticket proceeds from the events, bar profits and bucket collection donations went towards the final total raised. A big thank you to The Octagon Theatre and to Westlands Entertainment Venue for organising the event. A special mention is also due to the venues staff who worked during the evenings as they donated their time to be there.

At Full Council on 17 March, there were a number of moving speeches regarding Ukraine and a silence was held to reflect on all the lives that have been lost.

In line with the wishes of Members and colleagues, we are flying the flag of Ukraine at our offices at Brympton Way and have created a floral tribute.

On 30 March, our elected members came together to show how South Somerset District Council stands with Ukraine. Read more here: www.southsomerset.gov.uk/news/2022/3/elected-members-join-together-to-stand-with-ukraine/

Regular updates can be found on the Government website and the materials are translated for Ukrainian and Russian residents - https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/russian-invasion-of-ukraine-uk-government-response

Thank you. You response is appreciated.

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