Our Diocesan response:
Dear All in our Archdiocese,
Many people want to help those who are having to leave their home country of Ukraine, who will be offered refuge in this country until it is safe and possible to return.
The Archdiocese and Caritas Archdiocese of Birmingham have asked Father Hudson’s Care to coordinate the many generous offers of help. This is so that we can put in place a welcome that will be so important to the individuals and families in this tragic situation.
Always working with others, Father Hudson’s has been welcoming asylum seekers, refugees and migrants for over 30 years. Some of you will know of Brushstrokes, the Sanctuary, Fatima House and Sophia House and parish Community Sponsorship schemes.
Those already working with asylum seekers, refugees and migrants from all round the world and most recently from Afghanistan will share their expertise and knowledge.
Father Hudson’s will offer a diocese-wide approach, working closely with the existing Catholic Ukrainian communities based in Coventry and Wolverhampton to offer a coordinated response to any one forced to leave Ukraine due to the war.
Father Hudson’s and the Ukrainian communities anticipate being able to be the organisations that can link offers of help to refugee Ukrainian individuals and families.
Please note if you have a connection with the Ukrainian communities based in Coventry or Wolverhampton please contact them directly, rather than Father Hudson’s.
If you do not have a connection with these Ukrainian communities, please contact Father Hudson’s using the contact details below.
We know that we will need:
Accommodation in people’s own homes or homes that belong to individuals or to parishes/the Archdiocese.
If you wish to offer accommodation, please contact Father Hudson’s on (01675) 434000 between the hours of 8.30 – 5.00pm Monday to Thursday, and 8.30 – 4.30pm on Friday.
Or, within or outside of these hours please email Maria Gallagher on firstname.lastname@example.org providing a phone number that you can be contacted on.
Or ring, text or WhatsApp 07966 935533 outside of these hours, please leave a voicemail and number if unanswered.
There are three important steps regarding accommodation:
Your offer – Father Hudson’s will be the point of contact for this.
Matching – where the offer of accommodation is matched to a Ukrainian refugee family or individual. The national body, Caritas Social Action network, is recommending the use of an organisation called Reset, which has worked for a number of years supporting the Community Sponsorship scheme for refugees. Father Hudson’s will assist you in contact with Reset. It is also possible as time goes on that Caritas organisations in Ukraine, Poland and other European countries will assist.
Support once a Ukrainian refugee individual or family is matched – at the moment it is unclear to what extent Local Authorities and other agencies will be able to assist. Father Hudson’s, from its experience, knows that this ongoing support matters greatly. As central government, local government and other agencies clarify the nature of this support we will keep you fully informed.
Language help – if you speak Ukrainian or Russian these skills will be of incredible value, even if you live a long way from where the individuals/families will live (phone/Zoom etc.) – contact as above.
Other skills – as time goes on, some or all families will value support with developing their English-language skills (Esol), and possibly professional help, such as counselling – contact as above.
A local parish community contact – whilst the host individual or family will do much to provide a welcome it is important that they are supported in this by their parish community and we are looking for one or more parish members to offer to be a point of contact.
We are not asking you to contact Father Hudson’s or the Ukrainian communities yet, only when we have a clearer idea of where those seeking refuge here will actually live. We do not want to raise expectations only to find that offers of help are not used because there is no Ukrainian refugee individual or family living nearby. Once we know, we will communicate further.
Please note regarding the donation of goods, neither Father Hudson’s nor the Ukrainian community in Coventry have the facilities to manage the donation of goods.
The Ukrainian community in Wolverhampton is involved to some extent in this and you may wish to contact them to see what goods they most need, if you have some links there.
However, once families and individuals do arrive in this country they will undoubtedly need the donation of goods and it is hoped that parish communities where these individuals and families will be offered a temporary home will be able to support them in this way. Our parish communities have a great tradition in doing this.
Donate to the Disaster Emergency Committee appeal via CAFOD
CSAN and CAFOD have issued a joint statement which you may find helpful.
One last push on Nationality and Borders Bill
Secondly, Together With Refugees says that we still have a short time to secure some concessions before the Nationality and Borders Bill passes into law. Over the next week, parishioners can demonstrate the depth and breadth of support for a more compassionate approach to refugees by writing to your MP. The Together with Refugees website gives some background and campaign support- needed before 21 March