Leeds City Council appeals for further support as war in Ukraine reaches second anniversary

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Leeds City Council marks the second anniversary with an appeal for Homes for Ukraine hosts to come forward

As communities across the UK mark the second anniversary of the invasion of Ukraine, Leeds City Council wishes to thank the people of Leeds for their continued support and to issue an appeal for further help.

Councillor James Lewis, Leader of Leeds City Council said: “From the outset, we in Leeds have condemned Russia’s devastating and senseless war in Ukraine.

“On this, the second anniversary of the invasion, we are taking the opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to Ukraine and our solidarity with its people. We are especially thinking of our friends in the city of Kharkiv, with whom we recently signed a Friendship Oath. We hope that peace can soon be achieved.

“As a city, we are proud to have a long history of offering humanitarian support and I continue to be humbled and proud of the many people across the city who have opened their hearts, homes, and communities to those in need of our assistance, whether they be from Ukraine, Syria, Afghanistan or anywhere else.

“Thank you to everyone for your support.”

Since March 2022, Leeds has been committed to not only providing aid and refuge to those impacted by the war but also actively expressing its solidarity with Ukraine and its people.

Within days of the invasion, Leeds City Council, in partnership with a range of refugee charities and other third-sector organisations, started a citywide fundraising appeal that raised over £150,000 to alleviate the growing humanitarian crisis and help those arriving to settle in the city.

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In an expression of its solidarity with Ukraine, the Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Al Garthwaite, signed a Friendship Oath with Kharkiv in December 2023. Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second city, has been the scene of fierce fighting since the start of the war and around one-third of the city’s 1.4 million residents have been evacuated from their homes. The Friendship Agreement marks the start of efforts to develop a more permanent and closer relationship in the future. Councillor Garthwaite made a private visit to Kharkiv last summer with an aid convoy, and since then has run appeals to collect more donations.

To date, Leeds has welcomed over 900 Ukrainian guests fleeing the conflict under the Homes for Ukraine scheme, but more help is needed.

Homes for Ukraine

Councillor Mary Harland, Leeds City Council executive member for communities, said: “The response to the Homes for Ukraine scheme in Leeds has been truly magnificent, and we appreciate and thank those people who have already opened their homes to Ukrainian guests. 

“But as the war continues into a third year and Ukrainian guests continue to arrive in the city, we need more help to house both new arrivals and those who are already here.

“Hosting can be a rewarding experience for both host and guest, and our dedicated Homes for Ukraine team will be happy to support you throughout your hosting journey.

“There are also financial benefits to becoming a host, with a tax-free payment of up to £500 per month which has now been extended for up to three years. In addition, hosts will continue to receive any council tax reductions they already receive, can ask for a contribution to household energy costs, and are not expected to buy food for their guests.

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“If you think you can help, or just want to find out more information, please contact the Homes for Ukraine team who will be glad to speak to you.”

Like public buildings nationally, civic buildings in Leeds will be lit in blue and yellow to mark the anniversary on Saturday.

The Lord Mayor of Leeds will also be attending a commemoration event at 2pm on 24 February at St Anne’s Cathedral, Cookridge Street, LS2 8BE, organised by the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain and Leeds Ukrainian Community Association. For more information on this event, contact the Leeds Ukrainian Community Association by email: leeds@augb.co.uk.

Leeds City Council’s Homes for Ukraine scheme can be contacted by email at: homesforukraine@leeds.gov.uk and further information on becoming a host can be found at: https://www.leeds.gov.uk/campaign/homes-for-ukraine

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Source link https://news.leeds.gov.uk/news/leeds-city-council-appeals-for-further-support-as-war-in-ukraine-reaches-second-anniversary