Minister for Social Justice has today praised the intense “Team Wales” effort to prepare to welcome Ukrainian refugees to Cymru.
Local councils, the third sector, the NHS and the Welsh Government have been working closely together to put in place the arrangements and services for Ukrainians fleeing the conflict.
Cymru will act as a super-sponsor under the UK Government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme from 26 March. The scheme began matching the first individual sponsors with people fleeing Ukraine on Friday.
Speaking about the unique “Team Wales” approach, Minister for Social Justice Jane Hutt said: “Wales is a Nation of Sanctuary. We’re committed to ensuring there is a warm welcome for people fleeing the violence and conflict in Ukraine.
“We have been working very closely with our partners in the third sector, with the Urdd, the Welsh Local Government Association the NHS to ensure the right support is immediately available for people arriving from Ukraine.
“Following the success of the partnership approach to the Afghan resettlement scheme, we are proud to once again partner with the Urdd to open one of the first welcome centres in Wales for Ukrainian refugees. This will include the vital wrap-around services people arriving from a war zone need.”
Highlighting the progress Cymru has made over the last seven days to become a super-sponsor, the Minister added: “The First Minister confirmed our intention to become a super-sponsor for the UK Government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme just over a week ago.
“Since then an enormous amount of work has been undertaken to secure accommodation and support services and to prepare for the scheme to start on 26 March.
“Being a super-sponsor will speed up the process of enabling Ukrainians who want to come to Wales to do so quickly, without the worry of having to demonstrate a link to Wales before arriving.”
Sian Lewis, chief executive of the Urdd said: “The children and people of Ukraine are facing unbearable pain and a threat to their lives.
“One of the Urdd’s residential centres will be turned into a welcome centre, offering short-term accommodation for up to 250 refugees from Ukraine.
“Alongside our partners, we will welcome, support, and offer them a safe refuge full of friendship and love. The Urdd would like to wholeheartedly thank all pupils, schools and groups who have given their place in the Gwersyll to support the refugees in their time of great need.”
The Minister added: “We are committed to doing everything we can to support people fleeing the war in Ukraine and providing sanctuary and safety in Wales.
“I want to pay tribute to colleagues across our all Welsh councils and health boards who are working to ensure services are in place for when the first refugees arrive.
“It shows the genuine “Team Wales” approach and reaffirms our collective commitment to being a Nation of Sanctuary.”