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Knowledge, In the community

County Councils Reaffirm Ongoing Commitments to Supporting Ukraine

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Local authority partners across Oxfordshire are marking the invasion of Ukraine by Russia a year ago by reaffirming their joint commitment to continue to provide vital help and support to those affected.

The county council, city and district councils are all observing the national one-minute silence at 11am 24 February and are flying the Ukrainian flag to stand in solidarity with Ukraine.

The councils, alongside health and voluntary and community sector partners, formed a dedicated working partnership to enable a joined-up response to the government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme launched in March 2022.

Oxfordshire’s residents have shown their support and generosity by hosting Ukrainian guests under the scheme and through a variety of community activities.

This partnership has evolved to work collectively to support all refugees and those who seek asylum in the county and will keep supporting Ukrainian guests, and their hosts, as the war in Ukraine continues.

Councillor Barry Wood, Leader of Cherwell District Council, said: “As we mark a year of Russia’s illegal and inhumane invasion of Ukraine, we salute the bravery and resilience of the Ukrainian people. Our thoughts are with all Ukrainians whose lives have been affected by violence and displacement. We stand by our commitment to provide ongoing support to Ukrainians who have come to the UK to seek shelter and I thank our local communities and partners for their invaluable assistance in delivering the support and warm welcome that they need.”

Councillor Liz Leffman, Leader of Oxfordshire County Council, said: “As we enter the second year of Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, we stand together with the Ukrainian people in condemning this terrible war. Many Ukrainian people have come to our county to find a safe place to live and are welcome members of our local communities. We will continue to support them in every way that we can, and we thank local residents for their generosity in offering shelter and support.”

Councillor Susan Brown, Leader of Oxford City Council, said: “A year ago this Friday, Russia launched its full-scale attack on Ukraine. The anniversary of this event is a sombre moment to remember all those who have died and those left behind who endure and resist this invasion. Our thoughts are with all Ukrainians, especially those in our community in Oxford who will be worrying about the safety of friends and loved ones still in Ukraine. I want to thank all those in Oxford who have stood in solidarity with Ukraine, who have given support, and especially those who have opened their homes to Ukrainian refugees. On the long road to peace and reconstruction we must all keep fresh in our minds our horror at this war and our compassion for the country. The anniversary in particular is a day for our thoughts. The council will be flying the flag of Ukraine to show our solidarity and support.”

Councillor David Rouane, Leader of South Oxfordshire District Council, said: “We continue to stand with and support those affected by this terrible conflict in every way we can. Over the last year, we’ve worked with partners to deliver a coordinated countywide response to provide guests with refuge. I would like to thank the hosts, businesses and local communities who are providing support and welcome for the many Ukrainian households in South Oxfordshire and we will continue to dedicate specialist resources to ensure our Ukrainian guests are well looked after.”

Councillor Bethia Thomas, Leader of Vale of White Horse District Council, said: “Our hearts go out to people of Ukraine who have had their lives overturned by this devastating war. Over the past year, we’ve worked very hard alongside our colleagues and communities from across the county to support hundreds of individuals and families from Ukraine who have arrived in Vale of White Horse. We promise to continue this work and do all we can to offer the warmest possible welcome and necessary support for those seeking refuge.”

Councillor Duncan Enright, Deputy Leader of West Oxfordshire District Council, said: “Residents in West Oxfordshire have really pulled together help to the people of Ukraine. From giving donations of goods to support those left in their home country, to providing accommodation by welcoming displaced Ukrainians into their homes and supporting humanitarian appeals. We fly the Ukrainian flag in West Oxfordshire at our district council offices to show our support for all those affected by the conflict in eastern Europe. As we pass this 12 month anniversary of the start of the conflict in Ukraine, we live in hope that, as spring approaches, the future will see continued support from allies and hope that one day, peace will be gifted to the people of Ukraine.”

The partnership continues to seek new hosts, in particular anyone that can support families from Ukraine. All hosts will now receive a monthly payment of £550 until the end of March 2024. Anyone interested can visit oxfordshire.gov.uk/sponsor for further information.

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