Our thoughts are with the Ukrainian people at this time. Like all councils and communities throughout England, we are ready to help people in Ukraine and any refugees that may come here.
Statement from Councillor Liz Leffman, Leader of Oxfordshire County Council
We strongly condemn the abhorrent actions of the Russian state. Ukraine is a sovereign European country, and this violation of their territory and deadly attacks on their citizens is an outrage. Our hearts go out to the people of Ukraine, whose peaceful lives have been shattered by war and who have shown tremendous courage in standing up to aggression. And our thoughts are with our Ukrainian communities across Oxfordshire, for whom this is a deeply distressing time. We are flying the Ukraine flag at county hall to show our solidarity with the Ukrainian people.
We will do all we can, as a council, to play our part in the national and international efforts that are underway to support the people of Ukraine, and their relatives in the UK. We stand ready to provide assistance to any refugees that may come here, and we will be guided by central government as to the best ways that we can help as the situation continues to develop. In standing with the people of Ukraine, we and partner organisations will support and give a warm welcome to refugees locally should our help be needed.
The council has no contracts in place with Russian companies, and we have instructed that pension fund investments made on our behalf should be entirely withdrawn from any Russian entities.
We have a long-dormant twinning arrangement with the Russian region of Perm, which we will now act to formally end.
Government support schemes
Homes for Ukraine scheme
The government has launched its Homes for Ukraine scheme and supporting website. The scheme will offer a route to those who want to come to the UK who have someone here willing to provide them with a home.
It will enable individuals, charities, community groups and businesses to volunteer accommodation and provide a route to safety for Ukrainians, and their immediate family members, forced to escape their homeland.
Sponsors should provide accommodation for a minimum of six months. The government is offering an optional ‘thank you’ payment of £350 per month to people who can accommodate one or more households (subject to the accommodation they have) for up to 12 months.
From Friday 18 March, the visa application route opened for sponsors and named contacts to apply to the scheme.
The government has indicated it will provide further funding for local authorities to support this scheme, including sponsors, to help families rebuild their lives and fully integrate into communities. The council is ready to support this critical national effort.
Guidance for Ukrainian nationals
Guidance on government support available to Ukrainian nationals and their family members. This includes the Ukraine Family Scheme, which allows family members of British nationals to come to or stay in the UK; and the Local Sponsorship Scheme for Ukraine, which enables people and organisations such as charities, businesses and community groups to sponsor Ukrainians who do not have established families in the country, so they can come to the UK.
Making a donation
Many people in the county want to do whatever they can to help, and one way is to donate.
The Disasters Emergency Committee, a coalition of 15 leading UK charities, has launched a collective appeal to provide emergency aid and rapid relief to civilians suffering during the conflict.
Many registered charities are also helping to provide vital life-saving services to those caught up in the conflict, including those forced to flee to neighbouring countries. These include: