PM hails 'brilliant' new Express project to help Ukrainian refugees settle in UK


A message to Ukrainians from the Prime Minister

The online resource is designed as a ‘one-stop shop’ offering essential advice and information both for Ukrainian refugees arriving in the UK and the British families hosting them. Help in finding school places, employment, healthcare and a host of linked charities offering a full range of support are all available at a glance. Boris Johnson recorded an exclusive video to help launch the site which has gone live today at The Prime Minister thanked the Daily Express and addressed his words to Ukrainians recently arrived in the UK.

He said: ”I just wanted to offer my sincerest, heartiest welcome to our Ukrainian friends and say it’s fantastic to have you here in the United Kingdom.

“I hope this website will help you with vital information about housing, education, employment and many other things including the mysteries of British culture.

“We are doing everything we can to help Ukraine’s struggle for freedom and we’re delighted to offer our Ukrainian friends a place of safety here in our country.

“I’m grateful to the Daily Express, a great, historic British newspaper, for hosting this website and I hope you’ll find it useful as you settle in and make the most of your life in the United Kingdom.

Thank you and Slava Ukraini. (Glory to Ukraine)”

The site also features a facebook group where Ukrainians in the UK can safely meet online and exchange stories and information help each other feel more at home.

A weekly emailed newsletter is available and the hub will be in English with a Ukrainian translation facility.

The PM was immediately joined in his support by some of the major charities working to support Ukrainian refugees in the UK.

Save the Children UK is currently preparing to support the arrival of Ukrainian families and children with dedicated specialist advice and activities as they begin to arrive in greater numbers.

Boris Johnson

The Prime Minister thanked the Daily Express and addressed his words to Ukrainians (Image: Express/10 Downing St/Getty)

Executive Director Kirsty McNeil said, “Over the course of a month, the conflict in Ukraine has caused the fastest and largest displacement of people in Europe since World War II.

“Many people arriving into the UK are feeling exhausted, isolated and bereft. At a time of vulnerability, it’s vital that those in need have access to legitimate information.”

She added: “The new Express website is a helpful guide that offers answers to some of the most burning questions families may have upon arriving. These include how to access healthcare, enrol children into schools, find housing and seek employment. We want the families and children to feel welcome and supported at a time they need it the most.”

Save the Children’s Director of UK Impact Dan Paskins added: “So many British people have come forward and been so generous in supporting and welcoming Ukrainian refugee families.

“The more high quality information there is available the more this will be a success for everyone.

“That’s where the work that the Express is doing to make sure that this information is available to host families and refugee families in a really accessible place which lets people find out at a glance what’s needed, this is exactly what’s needed and it is great to see the Express taking he lead in making it happen.”

Enver Solomon, CEO of the Refugee Council, said: “In the coming weeks both Ukrainian refugees and their UK hosts will need help and will have many questions they need answers to.

“This website aims to be a helpful source of advice and information and should be a useful resource to both groups.”

Ukrainian refugees

Save the Children UK is preparing to support the arrival of Ukrainian families and children (Image: Getty)

The website was also welcomed by two Ukrainian women MPs fighting to free their country from the grip of Putin’s invasion last night hailed the Express website as a ‘brilliant idea’ to help refugees fleeing the war.

Inna Sovsun served as the country’s deputy Minister of Education and Science from 2014 to 2016.

The 38-year-old, who lives in Kyiv, studied educational policy at University of California Berkeley as a Fulbright Scholar between 2018 and 2019.

Offering her full backing, she said: “The United Kingdom’s help is very much felt in Ukraine. And we are incredibly grateful for that. The UK helps those who stayed in Ukraine, as well as those who had to leave our country.

“The Daily Express has created a website that gathers information about helping Ukrainians arriving in the UK.

“It has information about education, housing, benefits, employment, and healthcare. And this is very useful because we all understand how difficult it can be in a new country for people who because of the war have been forced to leave their whole lives behind and leave without any preparation.

“In the most difficult times for the Ukrainian people, your help is incredibly valuable. So, on behalf of all the Ukrainian people: thank you!”

Mother of three Lesia Vasylenko, 34, who has vowed to fight Russian soldiers with her AK47 if necessary offered instant and enthusiastic support.

The former corporate and human rights lawyer said: “I think it is a brilliant idea. From the Ukrainian side the number one question is what do I do with the kids, who will help me to set them up in school?

“If there’s one resource that will help them to do that it would be amazing. It would also be great for people to have a confirmed resource of potential sponsors in the UK.

“People have issues about where to find genuine sponsors and whether they are verified or not.

“The third question that people ask is about healthcare once they arrive in the UK. The human body pulls together in times of stress but when there is a settled period and the stress wears off then health issues re-assert themselves.

“This is something that is not discussed so much because it pops up afterwards. How to find help on the NHS and find doctors will be a very important issue.

“Alot of the Ukrainians who are moving out are qualified doctors and psychologists who can help with psychological trauma.

“It would be great to somehow find Ukrainians who are certified medical professionals to speak to Ukrainians and treat them in their own language.”

“The British people have responded magnificently by offering their homes and it is needed so much.

“I just left the Ukraine to travel to Poland and we drove at night. Every single region was lit up with artillery fire and explosions, it is very intense.

Ukrainian refugees

‘Ukrainians in the UK’ is designed as a ‘one-stop shop’ offering essential advice and information (Image: Getty)

“Humanitarian needs are very pressing but we also need helmets, bullet-proof body armour and night vision goggles to help us stand against the Russians.”

Former cabinet minister Sir Iain Duncan Smith, Tory MP for Chingford and Woodford, said: “The British public have responded with generosity to the call to host Ukrainian refugees in their homes.

“I want to thank all those who have supported those fleeing the war in Ukraine through donations, hosting, volunteering and befriending.

“This website is as trustworthy and reliable resource to all those who may want to open their homes or assist refugees in some way but have queries surrounding the logistics and practicalities. I fully support this excellent initiative.

Tom Tugendhat, the Tory MP for Tonbridge and Malling, and the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, said: “People arriving with nothing in a strange country need help.

“The British people have shown their generosity by opening their homes but we all know there’s more they will need.

“From healthcare to education Ukrainians will need help getting the support we want to give so I’m grateful the Express has set up this website. They’re being the guide to our nation that our friends need.”

Former Brexit Secretary David Davis said: “This hub is an excellent Express initiative which will undoubtedly help newly arrived Ukrainian refugees find their feet at a time when they most need it.”

Former Secretary of State for Wales and Clwyd West MP David Jones said: “This is an excellent initiative by the Express, and is greatly welcome. Refugees arriving in the UK will naturally need all the support they can get, and this one-stop shop will be of huge value in helping them find their feet in our country. Hosts, too, will find this a tremendously useful resource. Full marks to the Express.”

Former cabinet minister Damian Green added : “I am delighted to see this humanitarian initiative by the Express. Simple and easy-to-access information will be really important for Ukrainian refugees new to this country.

Former Welsh Secretary and Vale of Glamorgan Conservative MP Alun Cairns said: “This demonstrates the best of British Welcomes and shows the the most amazing generosity and support extending from individuals and families to important businesses like the Express. This will make a significant difference to people in need and stands in contrast to Putin’s brutality.”

Former Tory minister Ann Widdecombe offered the website her wholehearted endorsement.

Ms Widdecombe, more recently a Brexit Party MEP, said: “Obviously anybody who comes here from Ukraine has suddenly been put down in a strange country.

“They will have no experience of our systems at all and they will be suffering as a result of losing relatives or whatever it might be.

“And so anything that makes their life simpler is to be welcomed.”


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