First families fleeing war-torn Ukraine arrive in Altrincham

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Families fleeing war-torn Ukraine are beginning to arrive in Altrincham with Trafford Council pledging to welcome them “with open arms”.

Around 100 residents in Trafford have so far been matched as sponsors having signed up to the government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme.

The council is working with partners from the community and voluntary sectors on a support plan for the refugees which includes carrying out accommodation suitability and safeguarding checks through DBS checks, administering government-funded payments to sponsors, arranging school places for children and referring individuals to services and support including health, benefits and job seeking.

There is also the offer of English courses for Ukrainian adults through the ESOL scheme.

Hundreds of volunteers are also working hard behind the scenes through the Trafford community hub scheme to provide refugees with everything they need on arrival. Each family will also receive a special welcome hamper which contains food and gifts as well as information about access to health care, transport and benefits.

Millions of Ukrainians have been forced to leave the Ukraine in search of a new home following the Russian invasion and bombardment of their country.

Catherine Harriss, from Bowdon, is hosting a mother and her seven-year-old daughter from Kyiv.

Describing her experiences of the process so far, she said: “It hasn’t been an entirely smooth process and there have been a few obstacles along the way, but I appreciate that it is a new experience for everyone including the local authorities.

“We are delighted though to finally have our guests with us and the most striking thing so far has been the incredible support we have all had from the local community, offering everything from clothes to cello lessons for the young girl and her mum who can now enjoy some level of stability after a tumultuous two months.”

A spokesperson for Trafford Council said it was doing all it could to “welcome refugees and support all those who have volunteered to offer them a temporary home”.

They added: “We will continue to do everything we possibly can to ensure that Ukrainians arriving in Trafford can settle in swiftly and safely with all the support they need.

“Thank you to all the generous residents who have helped in providing a safe haven for all those fleeing the conflict and to those working tirelessly behind the scenes in our communities.”

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