RACHEL McGRATH COLUMN: County rallies as refugees are desperate for aid

As the invasion of Ukraine by Russia has seen more than two million people fleeing the country from war, according to the United Nations, many people are keen to support refugees and humanitarian efforts, writes Rachel McGrath.

By Graham Tebbutt (Edited by)
Friday, 11th March 2022, 1:48 pm
More than two million people have fled the fighting in Ukraine

As the horror and reality of war unfolds, many feel helpless as to what they can do to best support the people of Ukraine.

A number of key national refugee charities are also challenging the Nationality and Borders Bill, which is currently being debated by the House of Commons and Lords, campaigning for safe passage of refugees to the UK and an urgent change in legislation.

The bill has already been defeated three times as the House of Lords has forced Government to comply with international law, honour its commitments under the 1951 Refugee Convention and the 1967 Status of Refugees protocol.

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Within four days of the Disasters Emergency Committee launching their Ukraine appeal, the British public had helped raise £100 million, equivalent to more than £1 million an hour, which is a testimony to the generosity of the British public.

The International Rescue Committee has provided information on the best ways to help during this devastating crisis, including donating and making emergency gifts to reputable charities and organisations working within Ukraine and in nearby countries; getting properly informed about the Ukraine situation by reading recommended and independent news outlets; and showing Ukrainian people your support through social media channels.

Northamptonshire Community Foundation, which has already established a Northamptonshire Welcome Fund within the last year to support Afghan refugees, is working closely with its national network and Ukrainian and European Community Foundation colleagues to ensure the most effective support is provided.

Northamptonshire Community Foundation is encouraging support for the local community foundations that are supporting those affected by the conflict in Ukraine.

Community foundations are uniquely placed to deliver support right in the very heart of communities worldwide. Their networks, local knowledge and funding can enable grassroots organisations to respond quickly to the precise needs of their communities.

For example, during the pandemic Northamptonshire Community Foundation worked in partnership with the National Emergencies Trust to deploy more than £2.6 million in funds to local charities and communities in this county alone, to support emergency response activity to keep the most vulnerable residents safe and well during the worst public health crisis we have seen in recent times.

There are 33 community foundations in Ukraine that are actively mobilising people and resources in defence of their territories.

A nationwide grant-making programme to support community organisations to improve security, mobilisation and emergency supplies is now in place.

Whilst the number of Ukrainians fleeing to neighbouring countries continues to rise, UK-based community foundations are also in direct communication with others across Europe, many of whom have now started fundraising appeals to support the humanitarian efforts needed in their countries and Ukraine.

Northamptonshire Community Foundation is encouraging support for community foundations working in all of these countries. The following appeals are among those already delivering critical support within Ukraine and countries accepting refugees:

ISAR Ednannia (to support Ukrainian Community Foundations): https://sos.ednannia.ua/

Federation of Community Foundations Poland (to support refugees in Poland): https://zrzutka.pl/m3pyf6

Slovak Community Foundations Appeal (to support refugees in Slovakia): https://knzm.darujme.sk/bb-pomaha-ukrajncom-a-ukrajinkam/

How to Help Ukraine Now (a list of other Ukrainian charities requesting support): https://how-to-help-ukraine-now.super.site/donate/humanitarian-supplies-1

Northamptonshire Community Foundation currently has a Welcome Fund for Refugees supporting the resettlement of Afghan refugees. It is awaiting details on how a national resettlement programme will take shape for Ukrainian refugees before actively promoting an updated local appeal.

They will update their website and social media channels when it has further information.