Ukraine – one year on

One year on from Russia's invasion of Ukraine. A message from our CEO, Matt Powell.


Breaking Barriers

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I’m struck on days like today when we, in the refugee sector, mark occasions such as ‘one year since…’ and the ‘anniversary’ of the start of a war, do so only to enforce a sad fact that people affected by war, violence, and persecution, forced to flee their countries and leave their lives behind, are all too frequently forgotten.  

So often how long the spike in interest lasts – whether that’s media, public or political – isn’t anywhere near equivalent to the time it will take these communities to rebuild their lives.  

Last week we were witnessing the devastating impact of the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria and this week it’s vanished from the headlines.  

August 2021, we all watched on in horror as the Taliban took hold of Afghanistan and Afghan civilians were airlifted to safety in the UK. We know many of these families and individuals are still living in temporary accommodation with no certainty as to where they’ll be living and many promises to them broken.  

And this time last year we were looking on as Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine began, triggering the fastest-growing refugee crisis since the Second World War. The generous public outpouring of support through the Homes for Ukraine scheme means that the UK is now home to more than 110,000 Ukrainian refugees.   

Breaking Barriers ongoing learning from these many humanitarian crises is that the solutions to support refugees need to be built for the long-term. We can’t let our support waver as the headlines shift and the next crisis hits.  

The challenges and barriers don’t evaporate once someone leaves their home and country, in some ways their most difficult journey is just beginning. That includes once someone receives refugee status, there are still many barriers and hurdles to cross such as learning the language, understanding the culture, finding meaningful employment, and rebuilding your life. 

It took eight months after the first Afghans arrived in the UK for us to start supporting clients from Afghanistan, and we’re still only supporting a relatively small number of Ukrainians. But we know these numbers will grow and our support will be needed for years to come.  

And that’s why we’re not going anywhere. I know many of you agree with me, if you want to support our work it will be gratefully received –!/  

Sending support to all our Ukrainian clients and the community at this difficult time.