Council leader welcomes ''overdue'' support for Ukrainian refugees

Lewes District Council has moved quickly to support efforts to provide sanctuary in the district for people fleeing war torn Ukraine.

The council is promoting the "homes for Ukraine" website that residents can visit to register their interest in hosting refugees escaping the Russian invasion.

UK households that welcome a family from Ukraine will receive £350 a month.

Councillor Zoe Nicholson, Leader of Lewes District Council, said: "The situation is Ukraine is dire and I remain deeply unhappy with the slow and underwhelming government response to the refugee crisis so far. However, while the details announced today are overdue and far from ideal, I hope it is a signal that the government will now move more quickly to help these innocent and desperate people, including the provision of essential wraparound care, such as access to education and mental health support.

"I know the district is full of kind and generous people who want to help those escaping the Russian invasion of Ukraine and they can now take the first step by visiting the government website."

Local families who can help should visit: homesforukraine.campaign.gov.uk

Ukrainian families and individuals who stay with UK families will be able to live here for at lest six months while refugees who are sponsored by churches or charities will be granted three years' leave to remain in the UK.

Councillor Zoe Nicholson added: "We are promoting the scheme set out by Michael Gove this afternoon and also helping to highlight local fundraising, which is gathering pace all the time.

"The nightmare that citizens of Ukraine are going through is unimaginable and I know the people of Lewes district will do whatever they can to help."

Lewes Unity Centre is raising money with all proceeds from a day of yoga classes and massage therapies donated to charities working on the frontline in Ukraine - the event takes place on Sunday 20 march; Rodmell Church held a vigil on March 14; From Sussex with Love is receiving and taking donations out to Ukraine and Lewes Vets footballers are raising funds in conjunction with The Red Cross - search for Lewes Vets on the Just Giving website.