Prayers for Ukraine – 3:00-4:00 Sundays
These prayer hours are open to the community. You may stay for the entire hour or drop in for part of the hour. You may pray silently or you may share a prayer aloud.
Sunday 22 May 3:00-4:00 at St Thomas’s Church
Practical Help: as individuals
Please register your interest in the Salisbury Hub here
You may well have heard about the Government’s “Homes for Ukraine” sponsorship scheme, which allows individuals to sponsor a person seeking sanctuary to enable them to live in the UK. To apply to be a host for the scheme, individuals must be able to offer a room in their home or to provide self–contained accommodation. So if you have a large property with a spare room, a home with an annexe or if you own a rental property, please, please consider helping in this vital way. If you wish to do so, please sign up at https://www.gov.uk/register–interest–homes–ukraine.
In order to become a host, you must be able to identify a Ukrainian national to sponsor and support their Visa application form. So the obvious problem is that most of us don’t know any Ukrainian nationals by name, but the good news is that this does not need to stand in our way! AS WELL AS signing up on the government website, sign up at Reset UK, who will match refugees seeking to come to the UK with hosts. Reset will provide training and support for hosts and refugees as they are matched. https://www.homesforukraine.org.uk/
If you are not able to offer accommodation, there are still ways you can help. You may be able to help find accommodation locally where refugee families can live. But there will also be a great need for befriending refugees and helping them to integrate by offering your time and care. If you could do this, please pledge your support at https://www.sanctuaryfoundation.org.uk/
In order to provide local support networks both for hosts and for refugees, please could you let us know if you sign up as a host at: email@example.com
Of course, financial donations are desperately needed, and I know many of you are giving through the DEC appeal, the Methodist All We Can appeal and through other charities.
Practical Help: as a community
Please register your organisation with the Salisbury Hub here
In the next few days (hopefully) the government will also be announcing details of a community sponsorship scheme, which will allow groups from churches to sponsor Ukrainian families. It’s likely that this will work in a similar way to the existing Community Sponsorship scheme run by the Reset UK charity (mentioned above):
“The group supports the family through their first year in the UK to live independent lives, learn English, and access schools, benefits, healthcare and employment and participate fully in the community. These groups receive training and support from Reset through every stage of their journey and are also supported by their Lead Sponsor, who takes legal responsibility for the project.”
From Friday 24th April onwards, the Hub will be open in the Welcome Area 10am-Midday every Friday, but as time goes on it may be necessary to consider longer and/or more frequent opening. As more families arrive in the Salisbury area, the need for Ukrainians to be warmly welcomed by local people into a place where they can connect with each other and spend time together will only grow. However, people coming from Ukraine will have many other needs, and as the weeks go by the plan is to use the Hub to offer all kinds of support, including:
• Language classes – English for Ukrainians and conversational Ukrainian for locals!
• Food parcels in partnership with The Pantry Partnership
• Clothing/toiletry supplies in partnership with WILTSHIRE for UKRAINE
• Support with application forms for schools/GPs/Bank Accounts/Benefits/Jobs etc
• Medical advice in partnership with the Salisbury Walk-In Health Service
• Support with finding employment and/or training
• Information and welcome packs
• Orientation tours of Salisbury
• The Listening Place
• Wellbeing activities and opportunities
• Integration into Toddler Group for families with small children
• Spiritual support in partnership with the Ukrainian Autocephalus Orthodox Church, the
Ukrainian Catholic Church, as well as the local Catholic community
• Opportunities for Ukrainians to share their rich culture and cuisine with locals
• Signposting to other services
As well as providing a physical meeting place, we are also building a network of local people who can offer various kinds of specialist support and advice, and trying to enable those who want to help to connect with those who need it. We are also making valuable connections with the city and county councils, local services, charities and organisations who can help. To facilitate this, we have two wonderful volunteers, Jane Ebel and Jill Tomalin, who will be working in the office, with Sarah’s blessing. We hope to be a single point of contact for Ukrainians, their hosts and people who wish to help. The email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org and the phone number is: 07341 141632.
Of course, the aim of the Hub is to support Ukrainians and their hosts, but it is already becoming apparent that, in doing so, we are also building community locally, and putting SMc at the heart of the life of our city. Many of the relationships we are building with charities, services, organisations and individuals are likely to bear fruit far into the future, as our church’s profile is raised.
The day-to-day running of the Hub will be undertaken by an inter-faith, ecumenical management group, including key members of SMc. This group will be appointed by and accountable to the SMc Church Council and therefore be regulated by Salisbury Methodist Church policies on Safeguarding and GDPR. The costs of heating, lighting, telephone and computer links, printing and tea/coffee/biscuits will be part of the SMc budget for all church activities. Additional funds will be raised by fundraising and grant applications.
Please do get involved and help out. You will certainly be enriched by building new relationships with people from Ukraine and also local people. There are so many ways in which you could help, including:
• Staffing the coffee bar on Friday mornings
• Being a welcoming presence and a listening ear and playing with children on Friday mornings
• Offering your own expertise to Ukrainians (eg education, health, legal matters or general filling-in forms)
• Admin support
• Sharing your hobbies and skills as a wellbeing activity
• Inviting Ukrainians for meals or taking them for days out
• Showing Ukrainians around Salisbury, supporting with shopping etc.
• Offering to support a particular Ukrainian family or host family by building a long-term relationship
• And many, many other ways…
Valerie Liversidge is the main SMc point of contact for this work, as she is the Church Council rep on the management group, so do get in touch with her if you would like to help, or use the contact details above to get in touch with Jane or Jill.