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Welsh council ‘overwhelmed’ with offers to house Ukrainian refugees

08 Mar 2022 3 minute read
Transfers of Ukrainian civilians from the city of Belgorod-Dniester, before the Russian attacks on Odessa. Author Міністерство внутрішніх справ України (CC BY 4.0).

Richard Evans, local democracy reporter

Residents in Conwy have offered to share and even give up their homes to Ukrainian refugees, says the council’s cabinet member for social care.

Cllr Cheryl Carlisle said the council has been ‘overwhelmed’ with offers from residents willing to open their doors to families fleeing war-torn eastern Europe.

And Cllr Carlisle revealed one elderly couple, themselves World War Two refugees, had even offered to stay at a hotel so refugees could enjoy the comfort of their home.

At a Conwy County Council cabinet meeting today, the refugee crisis was brought up as the council prepares to home an influx of Ukrainian families displaced by the war.

Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Cheryl Carlisle said, “I met my social care cabinet colleagues across Wales, and we discussed with the minister last week

“I have been overwhelmed with the number the number of Conwy residents that have contacted me personally to offer their homes, to open their homes to take refugees and families.

“If we had any unaccompanied child refugees, we would be getting our emergency foster care placements of care for them. That would be the first thing we would do.

“One particularly touching one which had me in floods of tears was a lovely couple who were refugees themselves many, many years ago. They were very elderly, and they offered their home and said they would move into a hotel. Other people said they had a spare room or offered their rented property. I’ve had so many people contact me.”

She added: “Colwyn Bay Football Club has set up a centre for donations of every sort. Last night, we were completely overwhelmed with clothing, toiletries, everything. Both the football club and Conwy are liaising with national charities.”

‘Everything we can’

Speaking at the meeting, Conwy’s leader Cllr Charlie McCoubrey said Conwy would prepare to house refugees but said the UK Government’s visa requirements were slowing the influx.

“We continue on a daily basis to see these absolute heartbreaking scenes in the Ukraine,” he said.

“I just wanted to reassure members and the public that this local authority is doing all it can in conjunction with the other 21 local authorities and the Welsh Government Local Government Association to assist where we can.

“I think it is fair to say what is being asked is still uncertain. A lot will depend on what happens with the UK Government in terms of visas that are being issued and the speed in which they are issued, but we will continue to do everything we can to be prepared for each and every eventuality.”

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