The crisis in Ukraine - a deanery wide solution

13th May 2022

The crisis in Ukraine has moved people across the world. Many, including those in the UK have felt moved to action and want to help refugees who are fleeing the war. Recognising that not everyone has the space, or ability to offer a home to refugees, the Axbridge Deanery came up with the idea of pooling their resources and abilities to provide wraparound support for those individuals and families who may come to the area from Ukraine. 

In order to provide a coordinated response, they set about finding out what people could offer. A questionnaire was drawn up and shared with parishes across the deanery. From there it was shared with people in the community. Deanery hubs have been established and the group is also working with others such as the Cheddar Valley Facebook Group, to ensure the most comprehensive care is provided.

People have offered a wide range of things; there have been offers of accommodation, meals, lifts, and money, teenagers have come forward to say they are prepared to be a teenage befriender to young people from the Ukraine, others will provide counselling, and some have said they can offer Russian translation. There will also be an opportunity, when people arrive, to meet and pray together.

Revd Stuart Burns Rector of Cheddar, Draycott and Rodney Stoke said, ‘It’s like the adage, it takes a whole village to raise a child. We are highly motivated and want to help in any way that we can. At the moment there is some frustration that the system is very slow, and it is taking some time for people to be processed.”

Earlier this month Bishop Michael met some of those offering help during his tour around the diocese on the day the announcment of his appointment as the new Bishop of Bath and Wells was made. He praised the commitment and determination of those who have pleged to help refugees.