Posted: Wed 30th Mar 2022

Welsh Nation of Sanctuary in Action – Minister gives progress update on Homes for Ukraine scheme

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Wednesday, Mar 30th, 2022

Minister for Social Justice Jane Hutt has said that thousands of people in Wales have signed up to act as sponsors for those fleeing the war in an “overwhelming response” to the refugee crisis.

The Welsh Government has also called upon businesses or organisations in Wales to help provide “large scale” accommodation and transport for refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine.

Arrival hubs have now been set up in both North and South Wales to support those escaping Ukraine.

The UN’s refugee agency now estimates that 3.8 million people have fled Ukraine since Russia invaded last month, most are women and children.

Men and boys aged 18 to 60 are required to stay in Ukraine to defend the country against Russian troops.

The vast majority of those fleeing have sought safety in Poland and in neighbouring countries where visa restrictions have been relaxed.

In an update to Members of the Senedd on Tuesday, Jane Hutt said: “This crisis is unfolding on our doorstep. There has been a huge willingness among people here in Wales—and across the UK—to help those in Ukraine.”

She said there has been an “overwhelming response from people in Wales as they have signed up in their thousands to the UK Government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme to act as a potential sponsor for someone fleeing the war and to open their homes to them. Wales is showing our nation of sanctuary in action.”

“This really is our Welsh Nation of Sanctuary in action.”

“Those expressions of interest are now turning into completed visa applications based on the generous offers of accommodation from people in Wales via the Homes for Ukraine scheme.”

The Minister said: “Welsh Government is now directly sponsoring people from Ukraine and enabling people to complete visa applications and be accommodated and receive structured support in one of the Welcome Centre we are delivering in partnership with local government and others.”

On Monday a dedicated helpline for people arriving in Wales from Ukraine and for people who are acting as sponsors to provide advice and guidance.

Hubs

The Minister said that arrival hubs have been set up at ports of entry across Wales, including at Holyhead, Pembroke Dock and Fishguard, and at Cardiff Airport to help people arriving from Ukraine.

There are also arrival hubs at Cardiff central train and coach station and Wrexham railway station.

“From these arrival hubs, people will be eligible for free onward travel to Wales and to one of the welcome centres, which are being set up around the country to provide immediate accommodation and support for new arrivals from Ukraine.”

“In the welcome centres, everyone will receive help and support to help them settle into life in Wales.” Jane Hutt said.

She said: “Translation services will be available for people who don’t speak English and there will be opportunities to start learning English and Welsh.”

“Health services will be available; children will start school and there will be advice to help people find their way in a new country; help with money and welfare benefits and advice about finding work.”

“Accommodation will be available on-site at the welcome centres, but the Welsh Government will work to find all individuals and families longer term homes across Wales.”

The Minister said: “The Disasters Emergency Committee has set up a Ukraine humanitarian appeal, which is helping to provide food, water, shelter, healthcare and protection to people fleeing the conflict.”

“The Welsh Government has donated £4m to the DEC appeal and has also sent a shipment of medical supplies to Poland, from where they will be sent to Ukraine. Further medical supplies are ready to be shipped.”

“I have today confirmed we will be donating £1m to the Nation of Sanctuary Croeso Fund, which has been established by the Community Foundation Wales.”

“This fund is open to the public and to organisations and works with people seeking sanctuary in Wales.”

“We are proud to donate to the fund and to the Community Foundation Wales’ initiative to support people from Ukraine arriving in Wales and to support other refugees and asylum seekers in Wales.”

“And we also are asking businesses or organisations for help providing:

– Large scale accommodation

– Transport to take people to their new homes

– Supplies such as food, clothes and sanitary products

– Translators and interpreters.”

Jane Hutt said: “The invasion of Ukraine by Putin was a dark day for world peace. But the overwhelming desire shown by people across Wales to help shows there is hope even in the most desperate of times.”

  • The Welsh government helpline can be called in the UK on 0808 175 1508 and outside the UK on 0204 5425671.

 

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