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24th February 2023 marks one year since Russia invaded Ukraine. As this anniversary approaches, we look back on our Helping Hand for Ukraine fund and what it has achieved.

Heart of Bucks has worked closely with Buckinghamshire Council to collect donations from across our communities to help newly arrived Ukrainian refugees. Thanks to a number of generous donations, the fundraising appeal has raised over £44,000 to provide support directly to the refugees sheltered in Buckinghamshire.

Case study 1: £550 awarded for warm clothes and food

‘Family A’ lived in the region that was at the frontline in the war. Their whole way of life ended abruptly, their house was destroyed completely and they had nowhere else to live, surviving only by staying in their cellar for several months. The family came to the UK as refugees and left Ukraine with no money and only the few belongings that they could carry.

The parents of the family both suffer from PTSD as well as some other health conditions and their son cares for them both. This, combined with the impact of the war, is having a negative impact on his life. The family are living in temporary accommodation and, at the time of applying for a grant, heating was provided for a few hours in the morning and evening.

The family were awarded a grant of £550 which was used to buy food and basic items of clothing to keep them warm in the winter months.

After receiving the grant the family said:

“Thank you so much for such kind support. We do not have enough words to express how grateful we are for your help. We bought jumpers, jackets and coats for the winter and will spend the remaining money on food until our first Universal Credit payment.”

Case study 2: £607 awarded to cover childcare costs

‘T’ was a doctor in Kyiv and had been offered a subsidised online course to prepare her for UK medical exams, as well as an unpaid shadowing role for two days a week during the summer. Both of these are essential for T to be able to work here as an NHS Anaesthetist, however, T has a 3-year-old daughter and was struggling to get childcare support because the work is unpaid.

A grant of £607 was awarded to cover childcare costs for the two days that T was shadowing, allowing her to practise as an NHS doctor and serve in our local area.

Partnership working across Buckinghamshire

Our management of the Helping Hand for Ukraine fund has highlighted how important partnership working is in order to meet the needs of local refugees. At the beginning of February we welcomed guests from three organisations we have worked closely with to a webinar to inform and discuss how Ukrainian refugees are being supported in Buckinghamshire. Thank you to Deborah Stevens from Buckinghamshire Council, Tania Orlova from Community Impact Bucks and Adam Townsend from Aylesbury Vineyard.

To watch the webinar, please click the image below.