East Sussex volunteer groups receive funding to support Ukrainian refugees

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East Sussex County Council is set to give volunteer groups almost half a million pounds of funding to help support Ukrainian refugees.

On Tuesday (May 24), Carl Maynard, lead member for adult social care, approved plans to split £490,000 between three voluntary organisations working with refugees and host families taking part in the government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme.

The three groups — Hastings Voluntary Action, Rother Voluntary Action and 3VA — will, between them, provide support across the whole of the county.

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Mark Stainton, director of adult social care, praised the ‘fantastic’ response from residents taking part in the scheme.

Ukrainian flag bunting (Photo by BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images)Ukrainian flag bunting (Photo by BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images)
Ukrainian flag bunting (Photo by BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images)

The latest figures showed there were 704 known arrivals in East Sussex staying in 307 properties, the majority of which (120) are in Wealden.

He said this was significant as it meant refugees staying within East Sussex were more likely to be in rural areas than not. This could pose a risk of isolation and make it more difficult to coordinate support.

Despite these challenges, Mr Stainton said the voluntary organisations have already been providing significant support.

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He said: “While the scheme itself formally is either six months or 12, we suspect, we believe, this will be a long-standing issue and therefore we want to put some infrastructure in that will last, at least, for the year.

“The support we are talking about, given the rural nature, is transport, social interaction, setting up groups for the refugees to meet but also link in with the core communities in which they are placed.”