Suffolk bishop opens family home to Ukrainian refugees

Rt Rev Martin Seeley Bishop St Edmundsbury & Ipswich is opening his home in Ipswich to refugees

The Rt Rev Martin Seeley is opening his home in Ipswich to refugees - Credit: Keith Mindham Photography

Suffolk's leading Church of England clergyman and his family are offering their home to Ukrainian refugees fleeing their war-torn country - and urging others to do all they can to help, too.

The Rt Rev Martin Seeley, Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, said his family has registered to welcome refugees as soon as possible to their home in Ipswich. 

His offer comes as Michael Gove, the communities secretary, has unveiled a new “sponsored” humanitarian scheme to allow Britons to open their homes to Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion.

As refugees from Ukraine poured over the border into Poland, homeowners in European Union countries where visa restrictions have been waived are throwing open their doors preparing to receive them. 

More than 4.5 million people have been displaced since the invasion began, according to the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR. 

Ukrainian refugees load their belongings onto a bus before it departs from the Centre Europeen de Se

Ukrainian refugees load their belongings onto a bus in France. - Credit: PA

Bishop Martin said: “We have taken a decision as a family to open our home like others have, to refugees fleeing the Ukraine and look forward to welcoming them as soon as possible into our house.

“Not everyone will be able to offer rooms in their homes, but there are many ways to help.

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“Still one of the best ways we can help is by donating to the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC). The diocese has partnered with World Vision, a member of the DEC and urge people to donate online. We must keep supporting those living in Ukraine too.

“We need a community-wide response of welcome and support and I urge everyone to do all they possibly can amid this humanitarian crisis.”

The Church of England has also produced a toolkit bringing together advice on how individuals, churches and communities can offer practical support to the people of Ukraine.

The initiative has been produced in response to the overwhelming number of enquiries from churches concerned about the Ukraine situation and asking what they can do to help.

The helpful advice document, which contains a variety of information and includes details of partner organisations that can help communities in how they respond, can be found on the Church of England website www.churchofengland.org