Councils struggling to keep up with 'amazing' Ukraine response

People across Suffolk have offered to host Ukrainian refugees as well as turning up to vigils in Ipswich.

People across Suffolk have offered to host Ukrainian refugees as well as turning up to vigils in Ipswich. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Councils and support groups are working "as quickly as possible" to keep up with Suffolk's "amazing" response to the refugee crisis caused by the war in Ukraine.

So many people across the county have signed up for the Home for Ukraine scheme that councils are struggling to keep up with the necessary accommodation checks.

A spokeswoman for Babergh and Mid Suffolk district councils, where a huge level of demand has been reported, said: “We are not at all surprised by the hospitality and generosity being shown by Suffolk residents towards Ukrainian refugees.

"We are equally keen to provide the support our residents need and to ensure our Ukrainian guests have safe and suitable homes in which to stay, and are working to carry out all property inspections as quickly as possible.

“We expect numbers to increase further and have put steps in place, including additional resource where required, to keep up with demand.”

Other organisations have also ramped up their efforts to help Ukrainian refugees.

Suffolk Refugee Support recently advertised for more staff due to the crisis.

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Martin Simmonds, the organisation's head of fundraising and communications, said: "The response from the people of Suffolk since the terrible war in Ukraine started two months ago has been amazing.

"We know of families and individuals the length and breadth of the county – from Lowestoft to Clare and Newmarket to Aldeburgh – who are opening their homes to Ukrainian refugees and coming together to organise community support.

"At Suffolk Refugee Support we have responded quickly to provide practical assistance and advice to Ukrainian refugees – whether helping with English classes or benefits applications or SIM cards – so they can access services and feel secure in their new environment.

"We are also giving guidance to hosts and working at speed with partners to put further support in place.

"We share the frustrations of many with visa application delays, lack of clear information from government and implementation issues with the Homes for Ukraine scheme.

"But at a local level we have seen statutory, voluntary and community sectors working really hard together to make sure Ukrainian refugees get the warm welcome and support they need here in Suffolk."

For up-to-date information on how to help Ukrainian refugees in Suffolk visit suffolkrefugee.org.uk/ukraine-refugee-update/