In common with many organisations, Action Foundation has been overwhelmed and humbled by the number of enquiries we’ve received from people offering a helping hand to refugees fleeing the conflict in Ukraine.

Our thoughts are with all those desperately seeking safety at this time – including migrants from other countries who are also traumatised by war and human rights abuses.

This week more than 130,000 people nationally have offered up their homes to Ukrainian refugees under the Government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme in an amazing show of compassion.

It’s so heartening to know there is such a generous groundswell of public support. However, there remain some serious unanswered questions around how it will work in practice.

It’s so important that there is proper safeguarding in place to protect both guests and hosts for example. Also, we are concerned that the Government scheme will still require people fleeing Ukraine to go through a complex visa application process, in stark contrast to the unrestricted welcome offered by other European nations.

The UN Refugee Convention lays out that ALL people fleeing war and persecution should be given immediate protection and recognised as refugees and therefore we should not be asking desperate people who have fled their homes under frightening conditions to apply for visas or indeed to have to seek out sponsors.

In the meantime – and until we have more detail around how we might support the Homes for Ukraine initiative – we are ready and willing to welcome the increasing number of people seeking sanctuary here in Tyne and Wear through Action Foundation’s established projects.

Do you own a second property?

Whilst we no longer run a hosting service, we would encourage anyone with a second property to get in touch to discuss the possibility of either donating the use of it for an agreed period or joining our 17-strong team of landlords who lease their properties through Action Foundation. We have two long-running accommodation projects, Action Housing and Action Letting. Our support workers provide trauma-led, individualistic support to our beneficiaries. You can download more information here. Or, if you do not have a property but would nevertheless like to support our work with a donation, you can do so here.

We are also currently recruiting more volunteers to join our Action Language project which provides free English language teaching to refugees.

Fight the anti-refugee bill to protect all sanctuary seekers

Finally we would also like to use this moment of grave public concern around the plight of refugees to draw attention to the Government’s cruel Nationality and Borders Bill which is still making its way through parliament. Should it go through unchanged, it will mean refugees, not just from Ukraine but from Afghanistan, Syria and other war-torn countries, could be criminalised if they arrive in the UK other than by pre-agreed routes and arrangements. It’s not too late to petition your MP about this legislation. Please follow this link for more information and stay updated on the campaign: