Refugee support up and running in west Norfolk

Refugees from Ukraine cross into Poland at the Medyka crossing.

Refugees from Ukraine cross into Poland at the Medyka crossing. - Credit: AP

Support is up and running for any refugees from the war in Ukraine who arrive in west Norfolk.

A welcome centre at the borough council's offices at King's Court in King's Lynn opens on Thursday.

The council has provided £10,000 to fund a temporary part-time support worker for migrant charities Access and the Hanseatic Union and it has also put in place an emergency grant scheme to help anyone at risk of financial hardship.

People will also be able to access information about benefits, housing and  other support.

Cllr Stuart Dark MBE, leader of the borough council, said: “Our priority is to provide a welcome package for refugees that is compassionate and comprehensive.

“We can only imagine what war refugees arriving in the UK have gone through. We are putting this in place at our head office because that is where people will be able to access prompt help from us, Careline, Lily, DWP, housing services and local migrant charities, as well as interpreting services.

“Working across the public and charity sector we’re doing everything we can to make their arrival in King’s Lynn a positive experience. We’re doing everything we can to make sure that people know they have reached a safe and welcoming haven.”

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The temporary post has come about as a result of discussions with Access and the Hanseatic Union to deal with their anticipated increase in demand.

Emergency support grants will be administered by the council’s Lily service and will be given to help alleviate any immediate hardship refugees are experiencing between arrival and putting statutory services in place for them.

Charles Joyce, leader of the council's Labour Group, said: “These are people who only want to live their lives free from fear and we welcome and support them into our west Norfolk community.

“The council and its partners are rightly pulling together to make sure people fleeing this illegal war get the help they need.

Julie Chaplin, of the Hanseatic Union, said: “The Hanseatic Union and Access migrant support are responding to people needing support by offering sessions where people can talk and relax, as well as the usual information advice and guidance sessions. 

“Many people in our community have been affected by the war in Ukraine and our services are here to support everyone who needs help."