05 April, 2022 - By Leyla Williams

Supporting newly-arriving Ukrainians in West London

The past few weeks have been more busy than ever at West London Welcome. Our centre is located close to the Ukraine embassy, consulate and social club in Kensington, and nearby Ealing has the second-highest population of Ukrainian citizens in the UK. When the shocking war in Ukraine began last month our community were poised to welcome and support newly-arriving Ukrainian refugees arriving into West London.

We have already been supporting a number of newly-arrived Ukrainian families and individuals with finding safe local housing through Refugees at Home, accessing urgent legal advice via Ukraine Advice Project, food, clothes, English classes, childcare, and all the social activities and friendship that comes with joining our community centre. We expect many more people to arrive in the coming weeks, and we are ready to support them.

The needs of our new Ukrainian friends here are complex given the nature of the new visa systems that have been created. Lots of casework and support is needed for them, as well as for their hosts. We are concerned that some Ukrainians arriving into West London are falling into destitution, either because their hosting arrangements have broken down or because they have arrived without visas. We call on the government to ensure that all Ukrainians in the UK, whether they are newly-arriving or have been here for some time, can regularise their immigration statuses and have the right to stay, work and have recourse to public funds. They are all fleeing the same war and no Ukrainian should be punished for the way in which they entered the UK.

If you would like to support our efforts, you can donate to our Localgiving page or to H&F Giving’s Ukraine appeal here. A huge thank you to the many of you who have already sent us such generous donations and messages of support.