A public charity appeal has today been launched to help support Ukrainians who are desperately fleeing the ongoing war and trying to relocate in Manchester. The MCR Ukraine Welcome Fund money has been introduced to help support charities and voluntary sector groups across the city in providing assistance to those arriving in the city.
Following what would have been a treacherous journey for many, small grants for essential items and advice will be offered to help support families, women and children as they try to settle in Manchester. It will be run by the Lord Mayor of Manchester’s charity We Love Manchester, in partnership with Manchester City Council, who have already kicked off the fund themselves with a £50,000 donation.
And the charity has pledged that every penny donated will go towards supporting Ukrainian refugees in the city – many of which have been forced from their homes and traveled thousands of thousands to safety as the ongoing war with Russia rages on. Council leader Cllr Bev Craig was among those supporting the fund, as she announced that Manchester ‘stands in solidarity’ with the Ukrainian people.
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She said: “No one watching the horrific scenes unfolding in Ukraine following the Russian invasion can fail to be moved by the plight of the Ukrainian people. Manchester stands in solidarity with them and we are ready to play our part, together with towns and cities across Europe, in welcoming evacuees escaping the conflict and the humanitarian disaster it is creating.
“While some people will even be opening their homes to arriving Ukrainians, we know not everyone is in a position to do that. But by donating to this fund you can show you care by helping to provide practical help and support right here in Manchester to those escaping danger and starting to rebuild their lives.”
It comes as homeowners in the UK signed up in their thousands to offer space to fleeing families from Ukraine. The UK government announced its “homes for Ukraine” program earlier in March, allowing individuals, charities, community groups and businesses across the country to offer a room or home rent-free to those escaping the war.
People from across Manchester previously spoke to the MEN about their willingness to open their doors and help house families desperately seeking somewhere to stay. Alongside this, the new public charity appeal will help fund organizations in supporting these families with vital assistance and items.
Council chief executive Joanne Roney OBE said: “I’m glad the Council has been able to make the first donation. We know that Mancunians have big hearts and a proud tradition of hospitality and compassion. They will doubtless be generous in helping to welcome Ukrainian families to our city.”
Manchester City FC will be promoting the campaign on men’s and women’s matchdays at both the Etihad Stadium and Academy Stadium. Manchester City Council is working with other services to co-ordinate planning for the arrival of Ukrainian refugees under Government schemes, including the recently-launched Homes for Ukraine scheme which enables UK residents to host Ukrainian evacuations.
To mark the launch of the fund, the 40m Tower of Light landmark near Manchester Central Convention Center will be illuminated blue and yellow, the colors from the Ukrainian flag, throughout Thursday (March 24). To donate to the MCR Ukraine Welcome Fund visit here.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.