Milverton, Somerset

Wivey welcomes refugees

How can we best help the Ukrainian people in their hour of need? There are many ways, and already in the Wivey area a lot of money has been raised, plus 70 boxes of essential supplies gathered and shipped to Poland.

Now that the Government is asking people to accommodate refugees in their spare rooms, (subject to checks), there are many reasons why it would be good to coordinate this in our area. It would be less traumatic for refugees from a particular area to be housed near each other, and coming from a war zone they may have many and complex needs: alongside the immediate need for shelter there will be needs for clothing, to learn English, make friends, find work and schooling, etc. The hosts may also need support at times: this is unknown territory for everyone.

A few of us are looking to set up a group with the working name of ‘Wivey Welcomes Refugees’ in close consultation with Wivey Cares, the Wivey Area Partnership, the Town and Parish Councils, schools and churches, and Taunton Welcomes Refugees. Our hope is to come under the umbrella of an existing local charity so we can accept donations of money and ensure we comply with relevant legislation. Our intention is to cover the twelve parishes served by the 10 Parishes and Wivey and Hills Benefice.

If you have already registered with the government, or are thinking of offering to host some refugees, or could help with coordination, we’d love to hear from you. At a later date we will be appealing for other practical help once the needs are identified.

The fantastic community spirit in the Wivey area and existence of organisations such as the Food Project, Wivey Cares and the Grow Project mean the area is well placed to do its bit to help refugees.

Peter Pearson, Mirren Boyle, Julia Hatfield