A facility to support Ukrainian refugees when they arrive at Stansted Airport has been set up, called Stansted Refugee Hub.

It will help to support any arrivals who do not already have support, before they meet up with any sponsors.

And on Facebook, individuals are rallying to offer accommodation as a Government scheme opens.

Speaking about the Stansted Refugee Hub, an Essex County Council spokesperson said: “Arrangements have been put in place to support any Ukrainian refugees arriving via the Ukrainian Families scheme and the more recently opened Homes for Ukraine scheme with any needs or requirement when they arrive at Stansted Airport.

“Voluntary sector agencies such as the British Red Cross and local volunteers are already engaged and providing staff and resources and the Border Force, Stansted Airport, Essex County Council, Uttlesford District Council and the NHS are all providing support if required.”

Homes for Ukraine

Kemi Badenoch MP said the conflict in Ukraine has sparked a wave of support.

“The response locally is a testament to the courage shown by the Ukrainian people and the kindness and generosity of residents.

“The Government’s ‘Homes for Ukraine’ scheme offers a way for communities to welcome those who urgently need our help, as they flee the devastating conflict.”

See: https://www.gov.uk/register-interest-homes-ukraine

Aid driven to support Ukrainians

Meanwhile, the community continues to offer support to people trapped in Ukraine or who have fled to safety.

In Saffron Walden, resident Kateryna Shotropa's husband and his father have been delivering donated items via van to the Ukrainian border, and she has had confirmation that all donations have now reached the Ukrainian side.

They are planning their third trip. She is accepting donations, and cash towards ferry costs. She has set up a Facebook page called Saffron Walden Stands With Ukraine, a GoFundMe site, and two Amazon wish lists.

There is also a cash donation point at Saffron Walden Tourist Information Centre.

In Felsted, UK-Aid is sending three 18-tonne lorries of aid to help Ukrainian refugees who have crossed the Moldovan border at Palanca, Tudora and Otaci. They are due to set off tomorrow (Thursday).

Dunmow Rovers Youth Football Club Treasurer Ricky Valks is driving essential supplies to the Polish / Ukrainian border at the end of this month.

Their GoFundMe page is taking donations for fuel and supplies.

Fundraising events

In Stansted, the Touchpoint Cafe and garden, Crafton Green, Chapel Hill, has a fundraiser tomorrow (Thursday, March 24) from 2pm to 5pm, and on Friday March 25 from 12noon to 4.30pm.

They are offering tea, coffee, cakes and squash for free, with donations to the DEC Ukraine appeal to support families fleeing the conflict.

On Sunday (March 27) at 2.30pm Saffron Screen in Saffron Walden is taking part in a UK scheme where cinemas have come together in support of Ukraine with a series of preview charity screenings of Olga, a film about a 15-year-old Ukrainian gymnast who has been exiled to Switzerland. For each ticket sold, a donation will be made to support Ukraine, via The Disasters Emergency Committee.

Frank Riccio Hairdressing on Market Row, Saffron Walden will donate all the money from appointments on Tuesday, April 12 to the Ukrainian Humanitarian Appeal for mothers and children.

A silent auction takes place at Great Chesterford Community Centre on Friday May 20 from 7.30pm to 10.30pm to raise money for the British Red Cross to provide Ukraine crisis support. See www.auctionforukraine.co.uk

Uttlesford District Council

Earlier, political leaders at Uttlesford District Council wrote a joint letter to Home Secretary Priti Patel, urging the Government to substantially and urgently increase the support available to refugees from Ukraine.

The letter was signed by Council leader Petrina Lees (R4U group leader) and fellow councillors Melvin Caton (Liberal Democrats group leader), Vere Isham (Leader of the Green Party Group) and Richard Pavitt (Leader of Uttlesford Independents).

It states: "Although a small authority area of just 80,000 people, we are keen to take our fair share of a much more generous and appropriate national provision overall.

"As demonstrated from previous refugee crises, clearly the most effective and appropriate approach is through a nationally-organised resettlement scheme, run by the Government and delivered on the ground across the country by all local councils.

"It would be an administrative nonsense for individual authorities to seek to establish their own schemes."

Councillor George Smith, leader of the Conservative Group at UDC, said: “The Government announced increased support for refugees from Ukraine after this letter was drafted, and the authors refused to amend the letter to recognise the changing situation.

"I do not believe that politicians should be playing politics with a humanitarian crisis.”

He added: “I have friends and work colleagues who are directly affected by this war and am certain that the Government and British people will continue to do all they can to support Ukraine and her people.”

Uttlesford District Council has a web page which compiles links to how people can help: https://www.uttlesford.gov.uk/article/7760/Refugee-support


Ukraine support: Latest Uttlesford district events

'Heartfelt thanks' from Kateryna Shotropa and a list of what is needed

In pictures: Candlelit vigil for Ukraine

Ukraine support from Felsted, Great Bardfield, Dunmow and Flitch Green