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Monday, December 5, 2022

A Nation of Helping Hands

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Warm welcome for Ukrainians settling in Scotland.

A total of 3,747 displaced Ukrainians with a sponsor location in Scotland have arrived in the UK since the war in Ukraine began 100 days ago.

There have now been almost 10,901 visas issued with a Scottish sponsor via the Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme, made up of more than 7,642 visas supplied through the Scottish Government’s Super Sponsor Scheme, and a further 3,259 visas issued for matches with an individual sponsor in Scotland,

The Scottish Government, local authorities and third sector partners have worked hard and at pace to provide a ‘Warm Scots Welcome’ to those displaced by the war in their country, providing a range of support including meals, accommodation, clothing, healthcare, trauma support and translation.

Displaced people also have access to free healthcare and social security benefits.

A national matching service has also been established to help identify longer-term accommodation across the country, including the generous offers made by Scottish hosts as well as from local authority and housing association properties.

Marking 100 days since the Russian invasion on 24 February, the Minister with Special Responsibility for Refugees from Ukraine, Neil Gray, restated Scotland’s continuing determination to support the people of Ukraine.

Mr Gray said:

“The horrors that have befallen the people of Ukraine since their country was invaded by Russia 100 days ago has shocked everyone in Scotland and around the world, and we stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine.

“As a nation, Scotland has responded and opened its heart and extended the hand of friendship offering support and services for thousands of displaced Ukrainians.

“I would like to thank the thousands of people who have generously opened their doors to Ukrainian families, volunteered and donated to causes.

“I would also like to thank Scotland’s local authorities and third sector organisations which have risen to the challenge we faced to mobilise a major effort in coordinating help, providing support and services, and to the private sector which has also offered assistance, in such a short space of time.

“Whilst we want peace and for people to be able to return to Ukraine when it is safe and when they wish to do so, Ukrainians who have settled here can be assured Scotland will be their home for as long as they want it, and they will be made welcome and treated with care, dignity and respect.

“The Scottish Government and our partners are here to provide support for as long as it takes and we are sure the people of Scotland feel the same.”

One Scottish Government-funded project that has been helping displaced people is the Edinburgh Community Food project.

The organisation normally works to ensure people have access to an affordable, healthy diet and that food is used as a vehicle to promote wellbeing and social cohesion.

However, it turned its attentions to the Ukraine crisis, and has been supporting the Edinburgh Welcome Hub by providing fresh and healthy foods to help families from Ukraine cook and eat meals together.

Brenda Black, Chief Executive Officer of Edinburgh Community Food, said:

“Ukrainian people have fled from a country where, before the invasion, grains and fresh vegetables were plentiful and have always been everyday diet staples.

Edinburgh Community Food is welcoming people by providing quality fresh, healthy familiar foods to help families cook and eat meals together, as well as connecting and nurturing people with our traditional Scottish produce and hospitality when they may feel overwhelmed by trauma.

“The process of preparing, engaging, and sharing food can provide comfort and happier memories of home.

“Since the first arrivals from Ukraine, we have been working together to support third sector partners and businesses to offer people access to services and opportunities in Edinburgh and across the rest of the country.”

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