More than 2,000 Ukrainian nationals have been offered support in NI in the year since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, latest figures from the Executive Office show.
The figures also show that over £1m has been paid out in ‘thank you’ payments to hosts who have generously offered accommodation to those forced to flee from the conflict over the last 12 months.
The Executive Office has been the lead department supporting Ukrainian refugees who have arrived in Northern Ireland, working in partnership with the UK Government, other Executive Departments, councils and the voluntary and community sector to co-ordinate the response at a local level.
Ian Snowden, who has been leading the Ukrainian Refugee Support Team, explained:
“Soon after the war began it became clear that millions of Ukrainians needed urgent sanctuary. We have been working closely with public bodies, voluntary organisations and district councils to ensure the Ukrainian people who came here were offered the support they needed.
“To date, 1,855 Ukrainians are known to have arrived here under the Homes for Ukraine Scheme and 276 Ukrainians have moved here under the Ukraine Family Scheme.
“Ukrainians are now living in 671 properties which have been very generously provided by local people.
“A total of £1,184,750 has also been paid in ‘thank you’ payments to Homes for Ukraine hosts here to date.”
Mr Snowden continued:
“One of the important things that we have done to support Ukrainian people when they first arrive is establish the Ukraine Assistance Centres, which have been operating since early April. Representatives from various organisations are available at the centres to offer advice on a range of issues including education, health, applying for benefits, housing and jobs. So far, there have been over 3,300 visits to the Assistance Centres by Ukrainians, which shows how valuable they have been over the past year. As many of them are now settled here, we are looking at other ways we can offer support including helplines, online guides and support workers to help those with the most significant needs.
“One year on, all the partners involved remain committed to doing all we can to help the Ukrainians who come here and we will continue to adapt our services to meet their needs for as long as the support is required.”
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