An Update from Bishop Michael on the Support in the Diocese for Ukraine
5th April 2022
Bishop Michael has expressed his deep gratitude for all the offers of help that have come from our diocese in support of people fleeing the war in Ukraine.
He reports that:
- A diocesan database of parishioners is in operation offering accommodation plus other help for Ukrainians wishing to come to the United Kingdom
- There is access to a translation and support service for Ukrainians wishing to make a visa application to come to the United Kingdom https://homes4ukraine.org. This will match requests for help with the offers of support coming from our diocese.
- The brother of one of our churchwardens in Stapleford is on the Polish/Ukrainian border with a minibus helping people make their way into safety. His activity can be followed in the Eastern Daily Press. We are sending him monies from the diocesan Ukraine fund which he is currently using to buy foil blankets (it’s -13 degrees) plus food for those crossing the border into Poland.
However, Bishop Michael says that:
- The visa application form for people wanting to come to the UK runs to 50 pages.
- The response from the Home Office once applications for visas have been made is very slow.
The result is that:
- The UK system is of only minimal help in helping Ukrainians in need from coming to our country.
- Any Ukrainian wishing to flee the war would be much better to go direct to a country in Europe whose visa requirements are much simpler and speedier than ours.
- It would seem that unless Ukrainians already have friends/family here, there is little chance of them being able to come.
Despite all this, some progress is being made:
- Using our arrangements we are liaising with one family from Ukraine to enable them to come to Welwyn.
- A range of different agencies have told us how much they value the churches’ offer of involvement.
If Ukrainians are able to come, our help will be needed. So Bishop Michael thanks you for keeping the faith and for all that you are offering to do.