The conflict in Ukraine continues to shock the world and dominate news reports, with many local residents wondering if there is anything they can do to help. Ukrainian communities, voluntary organisations, charities and local authorities across Stockport and Manchester are working in partnership to deliver support – from arranging for donations to enlisting volunteers.
For those now fleeing from the war and seeking refuge in Greater Manchester, the focus now includes providing welcome and support for people who arrive here and those who are offering to accommodate people arriving from Ukraine.
People and families have fled across a continent, often with just the clothes they’re wearing and have urgent needs to be met – including practical advice, hardship relief and mental health support. Here’s some information on the support available and how you can get involved, as a local business, community group or individual.
Stockport Council are working with local hosts of Ukrainian families who will soon be arriving in the UK to make sure they can offer a safe home when their guests arrive. This includes ensuring Ukrainian visitors have access to the essential items they need and can access medicine or urgent medical treatment if they need it.
Stockport Council is in contact with the government and working closely with other GM councils and organisations across Stockport to make sure we can respond quickly when we need to.
In response to the crisis in Ukraine, ‘United for Ukraine’ has been set up by businesses and other partners across the North of England to support evacuees coming to our region. This site provides access to employment and support services.
For Ukrainian nationals, and other refugees who are eligible, the United For Ukraine website provides a searchable list of job vacancies with employers who have committed to providing good job opportunities in a supportive environment.
For employers, the free-to-use site provides an easy and direct way to communicate job opportunities and access the right support, to employ those coming here who wish to, and are able to, work.
Vacancies listed on the site will adhere to criteria such as the offer at least a real living wage, and disclosable salaries, to ensure the opportunities on offer are quality jobs.
The site – which is accessible in both English and Ukrainian – also provides signposting to support services and referral agencies for Ukrainian refugees, such as free English language courses and how to open a bank account, as well as services providing advice on issues including housing, work permits and childcare.
Organisations involved in the creation of United For Ukraine include KPMG, PWC, Creative Concern, DWF Law, EY, Cirrus Connect, Bruntwood, Siemens, Northern Power Women, Net Zero North West and Agent.
The UK Government’s ‘Homes for Ukraine’ scheme has seen more than 100,000 people sign up to provide Ukrainian refugees fleeing their country with accommodation. Those refugees who enter under the scheme will be granted leave to remain in the UK for three years, during which time they will be able to work and access benefits and public services – including healthcare and state schooling.
To find out more about the support available – from applying for a work permit to registering for childcare and medical services – visit the gov.uk website:
For the day-to-day challenges that Ukrainian refugees may face, there are a host of different support services in Greater Manchester to ease the transition into the UK. A great example is the combined initiative of transport providers in Greater Manchester who will be offering free travel, across a range of different transportation methods, for the first 48 hours of arrival. Services include Metrolink, National Rail and various coach & bus providers, all that is required to redeem your free travel is your Ukraine passport and your boarding pass from the airport.
Barnardo’s are also providing a free helpline with English, Ukrainian and Russian speaking individuals offering advice on issues surrounding housing, accessing healthcare, education and more. As well as links to their local Ukrainian Cultural Centres and practical support like digital devices, toys for children and food bank vouchers – this helpline is a great way to break the language barrier for the guests with little-to-no English. You can access the support by calling 0800 148 8586 Monday – Friday (10am-8pm) and Saturday (10am-3pm).
A fund called The Greater Manchester Community Response Funda has been organised through a partnership of Greater Manchester charitable support bodies to provide communities with the funding to create a supportive environment for those arriving from Ukraine, working with local authorities or those offering to accommodate families. This fund works solely off of donations and distributes the money fairly amongst the various support services and local community organisations across GM that are actively working to provide practical support to new arrivals to help them settle in to their new surroundings.
There is more evidence of not only Greater Manchester, but also Stockport using its initiative to create a home that’s far from home for all Ukrainian guests. For example, the Stockport Ukrainian Club on social media regularly provides members with updates about upcoming charity events, ways to donate and updates on guests and just recently
More information about this fund and wider support can be found here.
As the situation continues to unfold, it is important that we continue to support and signpost those fleeing Ukraine to the abundance of support Greater Manchester has to offer. If you re hosting Ukrainian guests yourself or know of anyone in need of the support on offer, make sure that they access the many resources mentioned in this article to make their journeys less daunting. You can get involved with the fundraising in multiple ways, from making a donation on the Merseyways Giving Tree to attending local fundraising events. To find out about Stockport specific fundraising opportunities and news updates surrounding this topic you can find the link to the AUGB Stockport Ukrainian Club's facebook by clicking the button below.