Portsmouth projects supporting Ukrainian refugees to benefit from £35,000 grant

UKRAINIAN refugees living in Hampshire will be given a helping hand after a community foundation gave £35,000 to supporting charities.

Projects which will benefit from the grant include humanitarian group Portsmouth City of Sanctuary and Gosport based Community Interest Company Bridge to Unity, which has delivered supplies to Ukraine across the Polish border as well as supporting refugees in the UK.

Bridge to Unity will receive £3,000 to cover ‘costs of jobs fairs and social events linking around 75 Ukrainians to jobs and people in Gosport.’

Director Alexandra Kenchington said: ‘Since the start of the war in Ukraine Bridge to Unity has been active in assisting those on the ground in Ukraine and also in welcoming to the UK those fleeing the war. The support from HIWCF and the Freemasons’ charity is going to enable us to continue this work and ensure refugees feel welcomed and supported.

‘The funding will enable us to host events within the community that provide a forum for meeting others, whilst also providing support with employment, education and other practicalities that all those arriving to the UK as refugees face. It will also enable us to launch a service that connects refugees with individual volunteers to ensure integration into the community and offer hands-on support for everyone that needs it.

‘At Bridge to Unity we are committed to bringing the local community together through projects and events and this funding will directly support that.’

The UK Community Foundations network supports grassroots projects across the nation and was recently given a £500,000 grant by the Freemasons’ charity which funds hundreds of other charities in England and Wales.

HIWCF CEO Jacqui Scott said: ‘The community support for Ukrainians arriving in the UK has been fabulous. As well as the people who have opened their own homes, community groups have been supporting families to navigate new health or school systems, or ensuring they have suitable clothes and access to food, and providing translation services. We can be immensely proud of how Hampshire and the isle of Wight have opened their arms and hearts to people fleeing conflict, and we are delighted to be able to manage funding to help enable that.’

The Freemasons’ Charity recently donated £500,000 to the UK-wide network. Its 47 member bodies share the goal of ‘making communities better places for everyone to live, work and thrive in.’

Charity chief executive Les Hutchinson said: ‘I am very pleased we’ve been able to provide substantial assistance to Ukrainians in need across the country. There has been an unprecedented wave of support for Ukrainians from the British public but there is a great deal more that needs to be done. These are people who have left everything behind in a country suffering the effects of a devastating war and I’m proud the help Freemasons have provided has now exceeded a million pounds.’

The Masonic Charitable Foundation is funded entirely by members of the Freemasons order and their families, donating millions of pounds each year to philanthropic causes.