Third sector support providing the difference to displaced families
A service run by a Scots charity helping displaced people from Ukraine has supported more than 300 children, young people and families after just four months.
The country-wide Barnardo’s Scotland Welcome (Ukraine) Service, which has been running since the summer and is entirely funded by the leading children’s charity, works to ensure that Ukrainian families feel safe, welcomed and included in their early life in Scotland.
The service has been working closely with Local Authority resettlement teams, Third Sector partners, education, training and employment resources, as well as health and support services to ensure that children, young people and parents feel less isolated and can begin to integrate into their communities.
To date, the charity has gifted more than 300 Barnardo’s Scotland £100 vouchers. Other items given to displaced families from Ukraine include toys from IKEA and dozens of SIM cards.
What’s more, Barnardo’s Scotland is recognising the value of those that have welcomed Ukrainian families into their homes and has worked to ensure that they feel supported. It is hoped that more than 100 hosts from across the country will join a series of online workshops with a Host Network to be developed in January.
The charity is working alongside Third Sector partners and Local Authorities to support the emotional wellbeing of children, young people and parents after escaping the war in Ukraine. The service understands that families fleeing Ukraine are likely to have experienced significant trauma and have limited resources, which makes them highly vulnerable.
Using an emergency fund, Barnardo’s Scotland has been able to ensure that essential items such as clothing, footwear, digital equipment, essential baby items, strollers, wheelchairs and walking aids have been sourced and given. Through an allocated project worker, practical support is offered; for example, access to digital devices to ensure families stay connected to loved ones.
Martin Crewe, director of Barnardo’s Scotland, said: “We offer support across the whole of Scotland. Contact and support takes place via digital groups, email, text, phone and face to face, notably in hotels and on board the two cruise ships – MS Ambition an MS Victoria.
“Information about how to access support with money, benefits and employment is provided along with exploring ways to reduce isolation. So far, we have helped more than 300 families from Ukraine through our own funding, and we would welcome further public support in order for us to continue this vital work.
“None of this would have been possible without our dedicated team. We have been very fortunate to recruit five sessional staff who have been displaced from Ukraine along with having four staff who have been settled in the UK for a number of years. This is ensuring that we have cultural understanding and compassion for those living with us in Scotland.”
One parent, from Ukraine, had this to say about the help her family received: “We would like to thank the work of Barnardo’s Scotland. Our family received a mobile phone to help and also psychological support. We have been in Scotland for a month and have faced financial problems. We turned to the organisation for help, and they listened and gave us moral support and hope.”