Sunday 19, February 2023

Stand with People of Ukraine

Urgent actions needed to support people fleeing war in Ukraine as well as local communities where they are being accommodated have been identified in a report by Community Foundation Ireland marking the first anniversary of the Russian invasion.

The Foundation, which works with a network of 5,000 voluntary, community and charity groups across Ireland, says needs and challenges are continuing to change and evolve as the impact of the war on people’s lives continues.

Through its donors, a partnership with Government and media outlets which formed ‘Ireland for Ukraine’, the Community Foundation has distributed €7.5 million to meet the needs of those seeking safety and shelter here and to contribute to the international humanitarian mission.

In terms of providing support to communities welcoming refugees grants have been provided to 157 projects to date. While the umbrella group ‘The Ukraine Civil Society Forum’ has been established while self-advocacy training has been provided to leaders within the Ukrainian community.

In its report ‘Standing with the people of Ukraine’ the Foundation and its partners which include Ukrainian representative associations, frontline services as well as leading migrant rights campaigners have identified priorities which need addressing:

  • Local Supports: Need for increase resources for Family Resource Centres as well as local social and sports groups so they can both meet the needs of refugees and assist in their integration into local community life. Integration is vital to prevent those with extreme political ideologies from setting a local narrative.
  • Accommodation: Need to allow accommodation decisions to be taken at a local authority level. Also an urgent need to end the un-settling practice of moving families and groups of refugees from county to county, preventing regular access to school, training and work.
  • Vulnerable Groups: More support for Rape Crisis Centres and other local services which are assisting those who have been subjected to gender-based violence or human trafficking. Also targeted services for vulnerable minorities such as the LGBTQ community so supports can be delivered in both Ukrainian and Russian.
  • Trauma Support: The long-term damage caused to the health and wellbeing of those forced to flee across Europe cannot be calculated. However it is clear that local mental health and wellbeing services need extra supports at this time. There is a need for conflict-specific supports to be further developed at both a national and local level.
  • Barriers to Work: Access to English language classes remains a key issue. We plan to support community-based classes to supplement those provided by the State. Investment will also be made in upskilling and reskilling opportunities.

On the publication of the report Denise Charlton, Chief Executive of Community Foundation Ireland said:

One year into what has been an evolving crisis with ever-changing needs and challenges it is important to reflect on the challenges which should take priority.

“The areas highlighted have been identified by Ukrainians themselves, groups working on the ground in communities and campaigners with expertise and knowledge on migrant and refugee issues.”

As a philanthropic hub with connectivity to organisations right across Ireland built up over the past 23-years we have adapted a partnership approach. It has delivered successes.

“However, this report is a reminder the need remains great.Now the issues have been identified we will again engage with our donors, supporters and Government to identify how effective and strategic responses can be funded and actioned.”

Your Copy of The Report

Download your copy