LAS have created a web page that includes an easy read guide, links to where people can go for support with their mental health, and a button to donate to the DEC campaign. You can view the page here.
They are planning a week of activities where the people they support can donate to take part in activities such as baking and making crafts which will be based around the colours of the flag of Ukraine. During the week of activities, and the week following the event, they will run a social media campaign featuring pictures of people taking part to encourage donations to fundraising appeals.
Percy Hedley has had links with the Step By Step Association school and college in Poland, Zamosc. They have had student exchange programmes and groups have travelled between the two organisations several times.
However, they now find themselves doing more than they ever envisaged. Zamosc is close to the Ukrainian border and they have found themselves supporting and providing accommodation to 30 refugee families from Ukraine, mainly mothers who have fled with their children, all of whom have disabilities, some very complex.
Step by Step are providing accommodation, food, medical supplies, interpreters and doing all they can to source more permanent accommodation asking anyone in their networks if they can provide shelter.
These are the words from Maria, Step By Step’s CEO.
“Everyday since this horror started we have been supporting families arriving – mostly mums with disabled children. We offer them temporary accommodation (we only have 30 places available at the time) and at the same time working nearly non-stop – we are looking for permanent homes for them, mostly in Poland. Offering those temporary places to families is expensive and we cover all those costs – we have to buy absolutely everything for those who arrive, they arrive with no belongings and often no money to carry them forward – we purchase underwear, clothes, sanitary products, medications, paying for petrol and translators, we also have a call centre which I lead on- luckily a lot of us including myself can speak Russian and Ukrainian too. As a foundation/association we are running this whole operation simply by volunteering in our own time – we have a strong team of over 100 people who have different roles in this process.”
Windward have been talking to their staff team and to the people who use their services, all of whom are worried and anxious in different ways. But nearly everyone wanted to something to practically help so they have had a raffle and a disco and have raised nearly £900 so far.
In addition, the people they support have got together and arranged various fundraising opportunities – a cake sale and a sponsored walk.
We are offering emotional support (using appropriate communication aids) and creating space to talk while trying not to focus too much on worries and making time for respite from the awful news.
Ways you can help
- The following Easy Read news item may be useful in talking to people with learning disabilities, autism or both about the Russian attack on Ukraine: https://www.unitedresponse.org.uk/resource/easy-news-russia-attacks-ukraine/
- Donations can be made via Inclusion Europe* to help people with learning disabilities and their families in Ukraine and the Disasters Emergency Committee Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal*, a group of charities who will use donations to provide food, water, shelter and healthcare to refugees and displaced families.
*Links included for information and do not express endorsement by ARC England.