With the one year anniversary of the start of the Ukraine war approaching, we are reminded of the importance of helping those affected by the war.
Since April 2022, Julian House has been working to support households arriving in South Gloucestershire under the Homes for Ukraine scheme. In just the first 9 months, we have already supported over 450 people in partnership with ACH and The Care Forum. Our work to support refugees continues and is ever-increasing as we work together to embrace new arrivals and support their integration.
We have been privileged to work with very resilient, positive and determined people coming from Ukraine. Upon arrival, they initially live with local ‘hosts’ who have kindly opened their homes under the government scheme. We have been supporting these families and individuals to:
- Access all of the support needed to settle into their new lives.
- Access school places for children and ensure they have the uniform and equipment they need to start in primary or secondary school.
- Provide practical support to ensure families and individuals have the technology they need such as a mobile phone, computer and Wi-Fi.
- Set people up on bridging welfare support prior to securing employment.
- Provide information and transport to local English lessons.
- Maintain regular contact with all our clients to ensure their safety, their wellbeing and their progress towards integration and independence.
- Support people to process the trauma they have experienced by fleeing war and enable access to local counselling and peer support.
Our Employability courses are particularly successful, working in partnership with the Job Centre, ACH, Ikea and Stagecoach.
At our most recent 7 week course we started with a group of 19 refugees, 17 of whom (90%) either started work, education or training by the end of the project.
We help people to move on into the private rented sector and work in close partnership with South Gloucestershire Council to maintain host placements. Whatever the barriers are to independent living, we work hard to break them down and enable refugees to live and work freely.
One year on, they continue to experience trauma, uncertainty and distress – with many loved ones still in the midst of a brutal conflict. But with our support, over 50% of our Ukrainian adults have secured employment within six months of arrival and 40% have successfully moved on from their hosts to independent accommodation of their own.
Following the devastating earthquakes last week, many of the Syrian refugees being supported by our services are having a very difficult time. One of our Syrian families in Bath has lost loved ones to the disaster. Many have family and friends who are missing, or in hospital, and are anxiously waiting for news, as well as family and friends who are now displaced and left homeless by the quake. More than 21,000 people are now known to have died in the earthquakes.
Our thoughts are with them all and anyone who has connections to the region. Thank you to our refugee teams for the extra support they are providing to help our clients process the impact of these events.