Currently UNHCR believes there are over 4 million refugees from Ukraine, with more than 2.3 million in Poland alone. Some of these refugees are in the process of applying to come to the UK, and about 20 families from Marlow and the surrounding area have submitted visa applications to welcome refugee families, around 60 people, into their homes. To date just two visas have been issued.
This is being coordinated by Marlow Ukraine Collective, a community group which has only been in existence for two weeks, since the Government launched the Homes for Ukraine scheme. The group can offer support in finding sponsors for Ukrainian families and vice versa; assistance in the completion of visas, and translators and interpreters for calls with Ukrainian families. Going forward they are looking to help people find jobs and, with the help of other organisations, support families to settle in the UK.
Marlow Refugee Action has launched a fundraiser that will be ring fenced to support these families in the local area when they arrive. Please donate to it if you can.
Are you considering hosting a family? Do you want to offer help to Ukrainian families when they arrive? If so, then you can contact the group by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can get further information, and see what else they are doing, by following their Facebook page – Marlow Ukraine Collective. They plan to launch a website shortly.
We are also giving thought to the impact of the current war, and resulting exodus of families from Ukraine, on our local community. We have put together a page of helpful information for parents and teachers who want to talk to young children about the situation in Ukraine.
Currently the Government states that potential hosts must nominate a named Ukrainian individual or family to host. We have created a list of organisations which may be able to help with this process on this page. Please email us any additions for this list, or information on your experience, to aid the Marlow community. The page also contains a lot of additional information for hosts and those considering hosting, including a link to information about the UK application process in Ukrainian.
Some local organisations, such as Christ Church URC, are collecting goods to send to refugees in countries bordering Ukraine. They have a specific list of goods needed (which is regularly updated). It is posted on the entrance door to the church in Oxford Road or see their website. Drop off times are 10-12am on Wednesdays and Fridays and 4-6pm on Sundays. Please do not leave any goods outside of these times.
Alternatively you could help in the following ways:
1) Financially donate to reputable organisations who already have infrastructure in place to make a difference on the ground. For example, the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) has an active appeal.
At Ukraine’s borders with Poland, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia and Moldova, huge numbers of people are arriving with only what they can carry. DEC charities and their local partners are in Ukraine and in neighbouring countries providing food, water, shelter and medical assistance.
Alternatively, click on the link to see the Ukrainian Institute’s recommendations.
2) Write to your MP. Putting pressure on the UK to welcome Ukrainians to the UK is vital. Although there is now a scheme available for refugees to seek to come to the UK, the process is by no means straightforward. Let’s encourage our MPs to push for the scheme to be made more user-friendly!
The current crisis also highlights the woeful flaws in the Nationality and Borders bill – please ask our MPs to reject the most controversial aspects of the bill, and demonstrate their commitment to the UN Refugee Convention.
Our local MPs are Joy Morrissey, MP for Marlow/Beaconsfield (email@example.com) and Steve Baker, MP for Marlow Bottom and Wycombe (firstname.lastname@example.org).