Welcoming Ukrainians

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Since a local hub was formed about a month ago to look after the Homes for Ukraine (H4U) scheme, across “Rye District” (Rye and surrounding villages), it has been working with ESCC, Rother, Rother Voluntary Action, Rye Town Council and a number of other hubs to receive guests.

The hub brings together those representing voluntary groups, such as Rye Mutual Aid, REACT, the Foodbank and HARC outreach, Rye Town Council and the local Churches Together. It is recognised by local authorities to handle coordination of all matters affecting the H4U scheme.

On Saturday morning at 11am, there was the first welcome event in the Rye Baptist Church. The Reverend Fiona Gill and the Mayor of Rye, Cllr Andi Rivett welcomed around 25 Ukrainian guests with their hosts along with numerous local volunteers who are providing support. MP Sally-Ann Hart and Cllr Keith Glazier were present.

In addition to the opportunity to network and meet others, there was knitwear, clothing, baking, and lots of information on offer, much of the last provided by Caroline Drummond of the Rye Hub. This event followed two weeks during which I have been out meeting hosts and guests in their new homes.

More guests are on their way to Rye District. These will also be welcomed into the network. Predominantly mothers and children have arrived with some of the latter already enrolled in local schools. Most of the menfolk remain back in Ukraine fighting or carrying out vital war-related roles. Part of the role of the local hub is to ensure safety and reassurance for the guests.

Plenty of issues are arising – about health, education, immediate needs – but all are being tackled and solved between hosts and Rye Hub.

There is some local fundraising and individual generosity to support the scheme but more will be welcome. Any funds collected will be allocated by the Mayor of Rye and hub to alleviate particular needs.

More networking events will be planned in the future. Many thanks go to Fiona Gill and her team for providing excellent hosting for this first event.

Facebook @ryehomeukraine
Rye Hub H4U

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