Almost 600 refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine have arrived in Norfolk under the Homes for Ukraine Sponsorship scheme since April, according to the latest national statistics. Of this, 240 have settled in South Norfolk – including around 100 in Norwich – the biggest proportion within the county.
Support and advice services are being offered through Norfolk County Council, with the charitable support of the Norfolk Community Foundation which represents a number of local charities and individual cause funds. Whilst the current estimate of the number of 18-24-year-old refugees has not been released to the public domain, the County Council is providing extra resources to Ukrainian under-18s to help them settle into a local school and the wider community. These resources include funding for laptops, bilingual resources, tailored tutoring and English as an additional language classes. The council has also set out plans to offer teachers access to “trauma-informed workshops” to help understand the children’s experiences and provide the additional emotional and cognitive support they may need.
Cllr John Fisher, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services made the following statement as the council announced the funding plans: “We know that schools will want to welcome and support the children and young people who come to Norfolk from Ukraine, but we also recognise that many schools are continuing to feel the effects of the pandemic. We have worked relentlessly to pull together the support and infrastructure to enable this to be possible. We want this to be as positive an experience for Ukrainian families as it can be, and help schools provide a safe and welcoming environment.”
One mother, Viktoriia Osmolovskaia, 35, came to South Norfolk with her husband and 6-year-old daughter. Speaking to the EDP last month, she explained, “Under Russian occupation, there’s a lack of doctors and hospitals and they could not help in that region. I left because I have a small daughter and wanted to keep her safe.” Mrs Osmolovskia is currently living with a host family in Diss, having arrived safely from Germany on 23 April, having been accepted onto the ‘Homes for Ukraine Sponsorship scheme’.
Additional Visa applications are being received each day by the Home Office and then allocated based on local sponsorship applications. The latest figures (28 May) show 115,000 Ukrainian nationals have arrived in the UK as a whole.
Donations to the Norfolk Community Foundations ‘Supporting Ukraine in Norfolk Fund’ can be made here.