Sunderland Monkwearmouth Corps help for Ukrainian refugees
published on 19 Jun 2023
A Salvation Army church in Sunderland has teamed up with local charity, Sunderland for Ukraine, to support Ukrainian refugees as they resettle in the UK.
The church and charity’s Monkwearmouth Corps (church) in Roker Avenue is providing practical support like food and clothing and hosting trauma therapy sessions. It’s also offering food hygiene training to the refugees and help with finding work via its Employment Plus service.
Earlier this year, the church also hosted a Sunderland for Ukraine concert for 120 people which raised £1,314 to help refurbish an underground school in the war-torn country.
As we mark Refugee Week, Major David McCaw-Aldworth, who leads Sunderland Monkwearmouth with his wife Major Elizabeth and who has been working closely with corps member John Clasper to help set up links with the Ukrainian community, said: “We don’t know how long the war will go on for, so our role is to make people feel welcome and settled here, working with Sunderland for Ukraine to provide food, clothing, household products and toiletries. We have given food vouchers to 60 of the most vulnerable refugee families so far thanks to donations made to The Salvation Army’s Ukrainian fund.
“Our building is open every Sunday afternoon to host trauma therapy from a multi-lingual professional therapist. Members of the corps have been helping out with refreshments, as well as providing pastoral and spiritual support. This led to three of the refugees being trained to gain certificates in food hygiene so they can help cook meals for those attending on a Sunday. It’s been lovely to see our corps volunteering and making refugees feel welcome, connected to the city and integrated within our community.”
During the school holidays, members of the Ukrainian community participated in out-of-school activities run by the corps’ children and families’ worker. The Salvation Army’s Employment Plus service also runs sessions to help people become job ready.
One refugee, who fled Ukraine with her two children aged 11 and seven, feels the help has been invaluable.
She said: “When I decided to take my children away from the war, the fear of danger was replaced by the fear of an unfamiliar country. Most of all, I was worried about being alone in a foreign country, the language barrier and lack of support, but here, in Sunderland, I met caring people.”
Another refugee added: “When we arrived here, we didn't know the language or anyone to turn to for help in case of something. We thought that our savings would last for a long time, but it turned out to be very expensive to buy everything we needed here, so we got a lot of help. We were able to get clothes for children, hygiene products, toys for our daughter. We also got a tablet to help us learn English, which came in very handy because our English is at a very low level.”
Kasia, who set up the Sunderland for Ukraine charity, added: “Ukrainian families are facing very difficult transition times due to moving to completely empty houses. It’s heartbreaking to think that they have to invest money on carpets and furniture when they have it all back home. Forced to leave their beloved country, families and friends is enough of the burden so Sunderland for Ukraine and The Salvation Army is doing everything possible to make this transition a bit easier.”
For more information on the support available contact Monkwearmouth Salvation Army