CAPTION: Eighty Ukrainians are now living with families in Devon thanks to the Diocese of Exeter Ukraine Refugee Support Scheme

Ukraine Refugee Support Update

Posted: 24th January, 2023

The Archdeacon of Plymouth, the Ven. Nick Shutt, shares this update on the Diocese of Exeter Ukraine Refugee Support Scheme:

“When Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, we as a Diocese, like so many others, were moved to respond by offering sanctuary to Ukrainian families fleeing the war. To that end, we teamed-up with Citizens UK to match refugee families with host families in Devon.

“We were touched and overwhelmed by the number of people who stepped forward to offer accommodation. As a result we have been able to match 80 Ukrainians in at least 32 settings across Devon.

“It has involved a huge amount of effort by a small team of diocesan staff and volunteer translators. We are very proud of what we have been able to achieve but we have concluded that it is not sustainable to continue with the work to match UK hosts with new Ukrainian guests.

Lena and her family have been hosted by the Archdeacon of Plymouth under the Diocese Ukraine Support Scheme

“We are extremely grateful to everyone who has put themselves forward to be potential hosts, and for the many encouragements we have received along the way. For those of you for whom we have not been able to find suitable matches we are extremely grateful for you putting yourselves forward.

“We have learnt a great deal as we have undertaken this task. We started with virtually no knowledge about the process and got up to speed very quickly. We soon learnt that our Ukrainian families tended to be in larger family groups that we first imagined, that they preferred city to country life, and that they are very keen to find work and schooling.

“These factors have meant that it has often proved difficult to place Ukrainians in some of our more rural locations.

“The war in Ukraine is not over and we will continue to work with our churches to provide whatever pastoral and practical support we can to the Ukrainian families now living in Devon and their host families.”

You can find out more about the continuing work of Citizens UK to welcome refugees.

The Sanctuary Foundation is a Christian organisation which promotes refugee welcome and welfare.