Lanarkshire response group prepares to offer shelter to refugees fleeing war in Ukraine

An East Kilbride Ukraine Response Group met for the first time as it prepares to welcome refugees to the town.

The group is made up of charities, church leaders, local politicians and voluntary organizations to name a few.

They hope to welcome at least 50 refugees to the town.

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An amazing humanitarian effort has already been made by a number of groups in EK to get aid to those who need it most as war rips through the country.

St Bride’s Church and its priest, Father Rafal Sobieszuk, led an appeal supported by other local churches which have seen tonnes of aid sent to his homeland in eastern Poland where more than 100,000 refugees have fled.

And the EK-based charity Share Alike has sent four vans filled with items donated by the generous folk of EK and facilitated transport of one van of baby boxes to Poland.

Countless others including local businesses, individuals and Scout groups have also helped in the aid effort with donations of cash and goods.

Now the response group are appealing to locals to help meet the needs of refugees seeking shelter here.

On top of transporting appropriate items to Polish refugee points the group aims to prepare support for any Ukrainian refugees who arrive in EK from food and clothing to therapy; facilitate matching with hosts; transport at least 50 refugees from a main refugee station in Poland to EK and to provide support to all refugees and host families for duration of their stay.

Annmarie Campbell from Share Alike, who initially put of the plea to form a response group, told Lanarkshire Live: “The people of East Kilbride have been so kind in their support of the Ukrainian people through our recent appeals.

“I felt to do their kindness justice and ensure we truly could offer any support required, particularly by those arriving here, all organizations offering all types of support would have to be connected and prepared. Forming this strong group of fantastic organizations should do just that .

“If there are any groups out there who can help and haven’t joined yet please get in touch. Working together we hope to make as many as we can feel supported and welcomed.

“We are hoping to bring groups over by bus to East Kilbride and create a database of people who would like to offer space within their home. At present it is only an interest that you are expressing.”

East Kilbride MP, Dr Lisa Cameron, said: “I was delighted to attend the inaugural meeting of the East Kilbride’s Ukraine Response Group this week alongside voluntary organisations, charities and church leaders.

“It is vital that there is a co-ordinated response assistance across our constituency as we want to ensure that the wellbeing needs of those arriving from the horrific conflict in Ukraine are fully met and that every family is given a warm and hospitable welcome to East Kilbride.”

Interested groups in joining the team or anyone who would like to express an interest in offering space within their home should send their name, rooms available, number of people you would be able to accommodate adults/children, contact telephone number and email address to sharealike [email protected]

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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