The Bexhill Hub to Support Ukraine consists of Town Councillor Viv Taylor Gee, Ruth Frais from St Mark’s Church in Little Common, Rev David Lockwood from Beulah Baptist Church, Valeryia Dvornyk from East Sussex Group for Homes for Ukraine Scheme Hosts and Refugees and Susan Gedge from Rother Voluntary Action. You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 07709 116 163.
Following the appalling crisis in Ukraine, the Hub was set up at two public meetings on April 21st, involving Rother Voluntary Action, Bexhill-on-Sea Town Council, Beulah Baptist Church, St Marks Church Little Common, Rother District Council, HARC advice centre, Huw Merriman MP, and the East Sussex Group for Homes for Ukraine Scheme Hosts and Refugees.
There was a great well of goodwill at the meetings. What could Bexhill do for the Ukrainian women and children arriving in the town and their generous hosts? The meeting included:
- people who had applied to be hosts,
- people who would like to support them in various ways,
- and the few Ukrainian refugees who had already arrived in Bexhill. Many others were waiting for visas back in Ukraine or neighbouring countries.
It was already clear that we should expect a large number of Ukrainian guests, that while hosts would eventually have their houses and criminal records checked, there was no system that “matched” hosts and guests, and – unlike other refugee schemes in the last few years – there were no caseworkers to support the refugees and hosts and iron out problems. There was also an array of bureaucratic hurdles for hosts to jump. It required all hands on deck! Hence the need for the hub.
Since then and with the help of the local authorities involved and RVA, the hurdles have mostly been jumped – some very quickly – and the majority of placements are working. The hub’s monthly bulletins have tried to keep everyone up to date with developments, activities and opportunities on offer, and the twice weekly drop-ins have helped to bring everyone together regularly. We have a lot of people to thank for this, and for the great friendships that have been forged along the way. Please contact us for more information, at email@example.com. Thank you.
Firstly, you wanted to know some details of who was on the platform at the meetings:
• Rother Voluntary Action: Claire Cordell (CEO of RVA and Chair of the meeting) and Susan Gedge (Ukraine Support Community development worker) firstname.lastname@example.org
• Beulah Baptist Church: Rev David Lockwood: email@example.com 01424 730001 (Reception manned from 9am to 1pm weekdays).
• Bexhill-on-Sea Town Council: Cllr Viv Taylor Gee firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. Viv is the Coordinator of the Bexhill Hub. Tel 07709 116 163.
• Ruth Frais, St Marks Church, Little Common, firstname.lastname@example.org Ruth has lived in Ukraine, and is deputy coordinator of the Bexhill Hub. 01424 843 733.
• Rother District Council: Joe Powell, Head of housing and community services and Kathryn Harlow. email@example.com.
• Frances McKenna, Parliamentary manager, Huw Merriman MP. FranceslMckenna@parliament.uk
• Teresa Andrews, HARC advice centre. firstname.lastname@example.org Benefits advice Line 0333 344 0681
• Nadiya Paton, Woodview Counselling, email@example.com. Nadiya, as well as being a qualified counsellor, speaks English, Ukrainian, Russian and Czech.
• Katerina Parfenova firstname.lastname@example.org
• Valeriya Dvornyk email@example.com founder.
Valeryia and Katerina run an East Sussex based support group for host families and Ukrainian refugees helping and connecting refugees in many ways, such as language support, supported video calls, accessing vital information, advocacy and arranging get togethers. They both speak Ukrainian and Russian.
See the group’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/547932003395742