Downderry and Seaton Refugee Support Group has been set up to link local people open to hosting a Ukrainian family fleeing the devastation of their country. Residents wanting to know more, please contact Leanne Spencer-Harper via Email
Thank you to everyone who has generously continued to help and to support our new Ukrainian residents. Your generous donations of laptops, tablets, child wetsuits, hair styling vouchers, etc. have been so gratefully received. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. If anyone has any spare children’s life jackets for a 5-8 year old and spare boogie boards, those also would be gratefully received! Please get in touch with Leanne Spencer-Harper: firstname.lastname@example.org or 07895804935 if you can help with this!
15 July 2022. News from Leanne: Thank you to everyone who has generously continued to help and to support our new Ukrainian residents. Your generous donations of laptops, tablets, child wetsuits, hair styling vouchers, etc. have been so gratefully received. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. If anyone has any spare children’s life jackets for a 5-8 year old and spare boogie boards, those also would be gratefully received! Please get in touch with Leanne Spencer-Harper: email@example.com or 07895804935 if you can help with this!
The greatest ongoing need is for transportation into and out of the village for job centre appointments in Plymouth, to St Germans to catch the train and for medical appointments at Quay Lane Surgery, transport to Torpoint for work, swimming lessons for the children in Saltash etc. Would you or anyone you know be willing to take on a coordinating role for helping to arrange transport? This would involve identifying and organising the people who have offered lifts to the Ukrainian refugees in the village and liaising with the Ukrainian refugees in the area to determine what their transport needs are and when. It may also involve advising on public transport options. Sadly, our limited public transportation options have proven unreliable. The 75 bus to Torpoint has experienced quite a few last minute cancellations in the past couple weeks which has made getting to work in Torpoint for one of our Ukrainian residents very difficult! If you are interested in helping coordinate this, please could you contact Leanne Spencer-Harper at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 07895804935. If you take regular trips into Torpoint or regularly drive to St Germans and wouldn’t mind carpooling with a Ukrainian please be in touch as well!'
20 June 2022 News from Leanne: We are very happy to report that our new Ukrainian residents are settling in well with their hosts and have been warmly welcomed by our lovely community. They, and their hosts, have been very busy finding employment for them, filling in government forms, getting children settled into school routines, etc. The Ukrainian children living in Downderry and Seaton have been warmly welcomed by St Nics school and have been embraced by their classmates which has really helped to integrate Ukrainian families with our community. We were so pleased that many of the Ukrainian families attended village Jubilee celebrations.
The Ukrainians themselves are taking the reins on arranging informal meet-ups as well as connecting and providing a supportive community for one another, they are translating for each other, helping fill out forms, sharing information, offering child care support, and carpooling and transport where they can, etc. lovely to see!
Thank you to all Downderry residents that have noticed a new Ukrainian face on the beach or elsewhere and been so welcoming!
We would like to ask for some help:
We are in need of bikes for a 5 year old boy and a 6 year old girl. Please do be in touch with Leanne Spencer-Harper mobile: 07895804935 or email@example.com if you’re able to help with this at all.
We also would be grateful for any spare summer wetsuits or beach gear for children aged between 5-11.
We are still looking for laptops that can be refurbished. The donated laptops we have received were snapped up and were very gratefully received!
Is anyone a driving instructor who would be willing to offer driving lessons? We’re hoping the transport survey might address the problem of linking up public transport options but in the meantime, Ukrainians learning to drive in our neck of the woods would be helpful! Thank you to all those residents who have offered lifts so that they can get to job centre appointments, medical appointments, etc. when their hosts have been unable to provide one!
We are still in the process of trying to deliver a basic English class in Downderry, and there are requests from some of the Ukrainians who are already proficient in English to have business level refresher English classes if possible. We’re also hoping to set up more informal language cafes throughout the summer. Check the FB group and village notice boards for more details as we continue to make progress on this.
Many Ukrainians are still reaching out to us, in need of UK sponsors. If you, or someone you know is registered for the Homes For Ukraine scheme and would like help with being matched with a Ukrainian family or any other support through the visa application process, etc. please do be in touch with Leanne Spencer-Harper at firstname.lastname@example.org or 07895804925.
17 May 2022: News from Leanne: Thank you to all for your continued support for Ukrainians in need. There are now 6 Ukrainian families safely housed with hosts in Downderry, Seaton, and St Germans and a few more families will be arriving shortly. We now have over 40 Ukrainians living in Deviock Parish and nearby locales. We have begun to connect our local Ukrainian friends with other Ukrainians being hosted in nearby Looe. One of our new Ukrainian residents recently organised a successful BBQ meet-up on Seaton Beach. We hope to provide more formal village meet-ups so that local residents can connect with and welcome Ukrainians, and so that Ukrainians can connect with one another.
As the Ukrainian conflict becomes more protracted, the humanitarian crisis has worsened. Bordering countries simply cannot support the millions of Ukrainian refugees in need for the long term. Temporary accommodation options are beginning to expire as are the few government resources available in these countries to help. The UK is well positioned to provide much needed support, but while there was an initial swell of UK sponsor registrations, there now seem to be more Ukrainians in need of accommodation than available UK hosts.
If you have registered with the Homes for Ukraine Scheme please be aware that the government will not proactively match you with a family. Whilst it is important to make sure you register for the government scheme if you would like to be a sponsor, the most expedient route for connecting with Ukrainians is through personal networks and contacts. We’ve developed quite a good network and requests for UK sponsors are flooding in, so please do be in touch with Leanne Spencer-Harper at email@example.com or by mobile: 07895804935 if you have registered with the scheme or if you can offer accommodation. Two bedroom accommodation is at a particular premium. It’s breaking our heart to turn away families for lack of available UK sponsors. Please know that there is an incredibly savvy and supportive local network. If you’ve got the space, don’t let bureaucracy and paperwork prevent you from providing stability, safety and comfort to Ukrainians. We’re here to help!
Do you have an unwanted laptop, phone or tablet in working condition that can be reformatted and refurbished? We have connected with a local charity that will reformat and refurbish the computers and phones so that we can disseminate them to Ukrainians in need. Please be in touch with Laura Chapman at firstname.lastname@example.org if you can help!
We are still looking to begin local English classes for the Ukrainians from mid-June. Thank you to those who have already come forward to help. If you or someone you know is TEFL ,TEOSL or CELTA certified and would like to help deliver a class please do get in touch with Maura Swabey, click here
If you would like the most up to date information about how you can support and help local Ukrainian refugees and support their hosts please join our Facebook group: Downderry & Seaton Ukrainian Refugee Support Group
March 2022: There is a government form that will need to be completed if you wish to offer hosting help - click here to view
A dedicated Facebook page will connect participating residents in Downderry & Seaton - click here to view
DASRA has contact with Cornwall Voluntary Sector Forum who has sent us links to additional information sources. Two will be of particular interest to anyone interested in sponsoring refugees. click here to access a Sponsor Toolkitwhich has been produced by Reset who are running the Government matching service. All those registered will find their Homes for Ukraine booklet of help
If you have successfully registered as a sponsor and are/will be hosting a Ukrainian refugee/s do get in touch with Leanne (see above) email . She is keen that all sponsors know that there is a wraparound support available in our village which will be a tremendous resource as guests start to arrive.
To donate: There are many charities fundraising to send help to the Ukraine. One worth considering is Disaster Emergency Committee (DEC) which brings together 15 leading UK aid charities to raise funds quickly and efficiently in times of humanitarian crisis overseas. Currently, with their local partners, DEC is in Ukraine and in neighbouring countries providing food, shelter and medical assistance. To donate to DEC ,click here
19 March. Under the headline Cornwall opens its heart and its second home to Ukrainian refugees, the Times (19/03) reports that more homes have been offered in Cornwall than in any other county in the UK. According to government figures, almost 2,000 have been offered so far, with many second home owners pledging their properties to the government Homes for Ukraine Scheme
Details of Cornwall Council's support for Ukrainian refugees can be found on their website. To view click here