Thank you for your messages of support and donations for the Ukrainian refugee crisis. Hundreds of Ukrainian refugees have already been welcomed into the Chichester area, with many more awaiting visas. Our small team has worked hard to recruit and train volunteer support workers and to raise funds so that we ready to buy whatever is needed (in the right sizes etc) for refugees arriving in our area. We’re also working with our partners – Food Bank, Rotary Club, Little Bundles – to provide for new arrivals. We don’t have storage or capacity to deal with donated items, but all cash donations are very gratefully recieved. We set up a coordination group for all the charities and networks supporting Ukrainian refguees in our area to share and disseminate information. We have been holding events for Ukrianian refugees and their hosts, and dealing with a situation that is new to us; the need of support for hosts. Even successful matches can be a struggle after a few months living together in the same house. Please let us know if you are hosting refugees as soon as possible after they arrive, so that we can support you and them, and welcome everyone into our community. Here’s a welcome and info page for Ukrainians arriving in Chichester.

We continue to welcome new families from Afghanistan, who are being supported by our awesome team of dedicated volunteers, and are settling in well and making incredible progress – this is despite suffering constant, debilitating worry and grief due to loved ones left behind being targeted by the Taliban (for violence, murder and threats of murder) in lieu of the escapees. The Home Office/ MOD is not being resourced to deal with the huge demand – tens of thousands of requests – for rescuing relatives whose lives are in very real and imminent danger. We are gradually learning the stories of our new Afghan friends, and the things they have done are astoundingly brave, like leading British Army missions across minefields and serving on the frontline for decades. The first of the Afghan asylum seekers, who didn’t manage to get on a UK Government flight last August so escaped with their lives by travelling over land, have started to arrive in boats. Some are unaccompanied children. So we expect to be supporting more Afghan asylum seekers imminently…

Due to the mushrooming need in our area, we considered whether Sanctuary in Chichester should decide that we are at capacity and focus only on the refugees and asylum seekers we are already supporting. For about 2 seconds. We don’t want to withhold welcome and support from anyone, so we are trying to raise funds for more staff to work on operations, helping people into employment and coordinating, training and supporting our 150+ volunteers.