The group explained: “We know that many organisations and individuals in Bedford Borough want to support people arriving from Ukraine. Therefore, PBIC is set to offer a central point of contact in Bedford Borough to help co-ordinate offers of support, avoid duplication and make sure that the most appropriate support is provided to those who need it.
“To help with effective access to mainstream services, support from the voluntary and community sector and other forms of support, we will be setting up a Bedford Support for Ukrainian Guests Forum. This forum is to become a communication platform linking organisations offering help, to Ukrainian Guests arriving in the area. We are looking to work with all organisations offering various services to those arriving in Bedford from Ukraine.”
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It also wants volunteers to act as Ukrainian Guest Support, which could involve showing them where to find services like the bank or doctor’s surgery, explaining how services work or translating for advisors – so it’s especially interested in people who speak Ukrainian.
If you would like to help, you can email [email protected].
PBIC won’t be able to help match sponsors with Ukrainains before they arrive, or manage donations sent to Ukraine and Poland – but it is looking to link up with other organisations that can.
Lucy Bardner, Community Programmes Director, The Harpur Trust, said: “The war in Ukraine is the biggest refugee and humanitarian crisis in Europe since the second world war.
"We applaud the people of Bedford who are helping by opening their homes to refugees, fundraising, and offering other support.”
Dave Hodgson, Mayor of Bedford Borough added: “The war in Ukraine is appalling and the people of that proud country are suffering untold hardship. I am proud of Bedford Borough’s long history of being open and welcoming to migrants and refugees and once again our local communities are stepping up to support people their time of need.”