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Local Support for Refugees

The local community in and around Godalming has established a network supporting refugees from Ukraine. Now that refugees are starting to arrive St Edmund's, along with the main churches in Godalming, is directing people to this network as the most effective way to provide local support. It operates through a website and private facebook group.

Godalming for Ukraine Provides helpful advice for those hosting or wishing to host refugees from Ukraine.

Godalming and Villages Support for Ukraine Facebook Group. Is the main place for interacting with the group - offering help with such things as lifts, tutorials, activities, tour guiding, admin, translation etc. You will need to register for this group to take part, and to respect the privacy of the details shared there.

Parish Networking for Hosts

In addition, we are thinking of providing opportunities for those in the parish who have offered to host refugees from Ukraine to meet together and keep in touch. If you would like to be invited to these please provide your details here.

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Opportunities for prayer and information on hosting refugees

Opportunities for Prayer

We continue to pray for Peace and Ukraine and for all those killed, displaced, or bereaved by the war.

Stations of the cross with stories from Ukraine can be found here.

Offering your property or home

The situation in Ukraine is changing daily, with Bishop Richard and our diocesan central office teams actively engaged with partner organisations to discover and signpost the safest and most effective steps people, families, and parishes can undertake to help our Ukrainian brothers and sisters. Those wishing to donate financially are encouraged to give to CAFOD’s Ukraine Appeal.

To date the UK Government has announced two initiatives to support Ukrainian refugees arriving in the UK – a Ukraine Family Scheme Visa for relatives of Ukrainian people already living here, and a broader Homes for Ukraine scheme for people and families able to host refugees in their homes and properties.

Volunteers who sign up to Homes for Ukraine need to commit to being a sponsor for at least six months. Sponsors will not be able to charge rent but will be able to receive a tax-free payment of £350 a month from the UK Government. Sponsors will need to be vetted and registered with their Local Authority, with people arriving from Ukraine also passing security checks.

The Diocese has been reviewing its properties to see if any of those currently vacant might be set aside to host more refugees.

Things to consider

There are a number of things to consider if you are thinking about hosting a person or family from Ukraine:

• Potential sponsors should examine the impact that offering a room in their home for a minimum of six months could have on their life, and what it might take to support an individual or family.

• We recommend that potential hosts research the support that people fleeing the conflict might need and explore what is available in their area, perhaps building connections and support locally before offering to be a sponsor.

• We strongly suggest households applying to host through the Homes for Ukraine scheme contact a local refugee action group and/or a charity that works with refugees and asylum seekers. Details of the local networks are provided above.

• Catholic Social Action Network, of which we are a member, recommends the charity Reset for those wishing to be matched as a host with a refugee person or family from Ukraine - Reset already works with the Home Office on community sponsorship of refugees. You can register to be matched with a Ukrainian refugee on Reset’s website.

A further announcement on plans for churches and other charities to resettle refugees over the longer term through a new Humanitarian Sponsorship scheme is awaited, with the Diocese also exploring the possibility of housing our refugee brothers and sisters in suitable empty presbyteries.

Can you speak English and Ukrainian?

The Diocese is working closely with Bishop Kenneth Nowakowski, the Ukrainian Eparchial Bishop of the Holy Family Eparchy in London and is compiling a list of people across our Diocese able to speak English and Ukrainian, who are willing to volunteer their time to help

Ukrainian speakers are asked to contact Laura Maydew-Gale in our Communications Office with:

• Their full name

• Level of fluency i.e. beginner/intermediate/advanced

• Town (to enable us to match people with arrivals in their area)

• Capacity to volunteer i.e. one/two/three + hours per week

Please send these details to E:

Additional Information

Further news and developments will be shared here, in the News section of the diocesan website and in the diocesan weekly E-Bulletin. If you don’t receive the E-Bulletin and would like to sign up, please click on this link:

• The Diocese continues to promote CAFOD’s Ukraine Appeal to parishes and people wishing to give financially. You can give to CAFOD’s Appeal here.

• You can access Reset’s website here with the ste also available in Ukrainian.

• You can find out more about the Government’s Homes for Ukraine initiative here:

• To find out about the Family Scheme Visa click on this link: