Community support for Ukrainian refugees in Buckinghamshire

Support from local communities is key to the county’s efforts to help Ukrainian refugees in Buckinghamshire. This may take the form of hosting, providing translation services or advice, or helping arrivals to join an existing activity – such as playgroups – or setting up new activities, whether as an individual or as part of a charity or community group.

We are working closely with Buckinghamshire Council to help coordinate the community response in the county. If you are currently supporting Ukrainian refugees in the county, or would like to offer your support, have a look at the resources available to you and ways to get involved:

Information for charities/ community groups in Buckinghamshire

If your voluntary organisation is able to support Ukrainian refugees in Buckinghamshire, you can:

  • Register with the Bucks Online Directory (BOD): if you have set up a new group, club, or activity that offers support to Ukrainian refugees, we would encourage you to add it to the Bucks Online Directory (BOD) by creating an account, and adding details of your organisation. The BOD team will add the category tag ‘Support for Ukrainian refugees’ when reviewing your submission. If you are already registered with Bucks Online Directory and would like your support for Ukrainian refugees listed, sign into your account, click on ‘add a new service’ and enter details. As above, the BOD team will add the category tag ‘support for Ukrainian refugees’ when reviewing your submission.
  • Keep up to date with the Community Capacity sub-group: the Bucks Ukraine Partnership, a cross-sector partnership being led by Buckinghamshire Council, is coordinating the county’s preparations to receive Ukrainian refugees. As part of this, Community Impact Bucks is chairing the Community Capacity sub-group which is engaging with groups and individuals in the community who could support Bucks activities. If you would like to be kept informed of the work of the Community Capacity sub-group, email your name, title, organisation, and (if relevant) the type of help you plan to offer to comms@communityimpactbucks.org.uk
  • Register with the Volunteer Matching Service: if your organisation needs volunteers to help deliver a service that supports Ukrainian refugees in Buckinghamshire, complete the form and the team will be in contact when suitable volunteers are found. Find out more about the Service and how to register at Volunteer Matching Service.
  • Grants for groups supporting Ukrainian refugees: If your group needs funding (up to £2,000) to carry out additional or new work supporting Ukrainian refugees,  please email info@heartofbucks.org for guidance on applying for funds.
  • Guide on how to set up Group Bank Account: this guide will help you ask the right questions to establish your charity’s banking needs and answers many frequently asked questions. It is tailored to those involved with the financial affairs of smaller charities or voluntary organisations. Download the Guide to Setting up Group Bank Account.
  • Guide to setting up a short-lived crisis response group: starting a community group from scratch can be a daunting prospect. This guide will help you start and run a successful group, in response to a short-lived crisis, that will make a real difference to the community. Download the Guide to Setting up a Short-Lived Crisis Response Group.

Information for refugees or hosts in Buckinghamshire

  • Activities and organisations supporting Ukrainian refugees in Bucks: the Bucks Online Directory (BOD) lists organisations and activities in the county and features a ‘Support for Ukrainian refugees’ category to highlight local support available to Ukrainians in Buckinghamshire, and their sponsors. If you are refugee or are hosting refugees, go to Bucks Online Directory, select ‘Advice and Support’, and then in Categories, select ‘Support for Ukrainian refugees’.
  • Comprehensive Toolkit from Reset: Reset, the official partner of the Homes for Ukraine scheme, has created a comprehensive Toolkit for Sponsors​​​​​​​. Keep scrolling through to find  lots of useful guidance on aspects such as thinking about the power balance, building relationships, integration support and preparing your property.
  • Welcome banner: Reading-based printers WP4U have designed a 2.3m x 1.3m welcome banner​​​​​​​ – £10 from every order goes to Sanctuary Foundation.
  • Transport:
    • Reset has a lot of useful information to support refugees, including a budget form for those wanting to buy a car: Driving in the UK​​​​​​​
    • Community Transport schemes are volunteer-led and can provide lifts to one-off or occasional appointments. Contact the Community Transport Hub​​​​​​​ to find out about your options.
    • Liftshare​​​​​​​ helps connect people who are making the same journey to share lifts. Make sure you follow Liftshare’s simple security measures to stay safe when sharing lifts​​​​​​​ with strangers.
  • Hosting in rural areas: City of Sanctuary recording a webinar on 5th May looking at considerations and practical tips for hosting refugees in rural/semi-rural communities​​​​​​​. There’s some interesting information about the refugee and asylum system at the beginning – the focus on rural matters starts at 20 minutes in.

Information for Bucks residents wanting to support county’s refugees

  • Register your support with Buckinghamshire Council: if you would like to pledge your support as an individual or organisation to help Ukrainian refugees, email Buckinghamshire Council’s dedicated email ukrainesupport@buckinghamshire.gov.uk
  • Find out how to sponsor Ukrainian refugees: read about the ‘Homes for Ukraine’ visa scheme for visa applications from Ukrainians who have named people in the UK willing to sponsor them. This scheme allows Ukrainian refugees to find safety in the UK through sponsorship from the public. Visit Buckinghamshire Council’s Helping Hand for Ukraine.
  • Donate to Helping Hand for Ukraine: Buckinghamshire Council and Heart of Bucks Community Foundation have launched a crisis fund for people fleeing the current conflict in Ukraine. For full details and how to pledge your donations visit the Heart of Bucks Total Giving page.
  • Volunteer with a local charity or community group: if you know of a local organisation that is supporting Ukrainians in Buckinghamshire, contact them directly and see if they are in need of help – whether it is in person, from home, regular or one-off.
  • Sign-up as a volunteer with the Volunteer Matching Service: register with the Volunteer Matching Service (VMS) which places volunteers where they are most needed in the county. You can identify what sort of things you are interested in doing, any particular skills you could bring to a role, and what sort of time commitment you are able to give. The VMS volunteer team can then match you to a suitable role.
  • Resources for volunteers: you can also find a range of useful resources on volunteering here.

Information for Bucks businesses

Bucks Business First (BBF) is keen to hear from businesses in Buckinghamshire which can help Ukrainian refugees arriving in the county. For more information, visit its website.

Translation and interpreting

  • ClearVoice offers 24/7 on demand telephone and video interpreting (paid) to charities including Reset (official partners of UK Government on the Homes for Ukraine scheme).
  • Herts Interpreting and Translation ServicesHITS – is a social enterprise run by our friends Community Action Dacorum, offering (paid) interpreting and translation services, and training for interpreters.
  • thebigword is donating 5,000 minutes of Telephone Interpreting to charities supporting Ukrainian refugees. Its network of Ukrainian speaking linguists in the UK will also be volunteering their skills and time to help support the cause.
  • Charity Translators has a huge number of links and resources around Ukraine-related language support.
  • Widgit has produced a refugee support pack containing communication charts that use symbols to help refugees communicate information and help bridge the language barrier between refugees and their hosts.
  • Call for volunteer interpreters: Community Impact Bucks is asking people with good Ukrainian/Russian and English skills (written and verbal) who may be willing to volunteer to sign up to the Buckinghamshire Volunteer Matching Service, stating their interest in interpreting on their registration form.

Cultural Understanding

  • This comprehensive guide, compiled by Ukrainians in the UK and regularly updated, provides key information about life in the UK, as well as helpful guidance on the available visa schemes. Please note that this guide is in Ukrainian, but can be translated into English using Google Translate.
  • Healthprom, a UK-based charity that mainly operates in former Soviet countries, has produced short Culture Sensitivity sheets in English, Ukrainian and Russian covering areas like religion, home comforts, interpersonal differences, and attitudes to LGBT communities.
  • There are many Polish and Romanian food shops in the Buckinghamshire where it is possible to purchase similar regional food. Take a look at this factsheet for more information.

Children & Young People

  • Advice to support families: Ukraine Parenting Response, set up by Oxford University with WHO, UNICEF, UNHCR and other partners, is offering resources and evidence-based parenting advice to support families impacted by the ongoing war in Ukraine. All resources can be downloaded from the website, and are available in Ukrainian, Russian and English.
  • Resources for those hosting young Ukrainian families: visit Sanctuary Foundation to access a growing list of resources for anyone hosting Ukrainian families with babies and young families including checklists for 4 months -2 years old and 2-4 years old, and safety information.
  • Activities and advice for families with children: run by Buckinghamshire Council, the Bucks Family Information Service has a range of information, support, childcare and things to do for families, children and young people aged from birth to 19 years (up to 25 years with a disability/ additional needs). For details of what is on in the county, visit Bucks Family Information Service.