South Tyneside 'ready and willing' to help those fleeing Ukraine, says leader

South Tyneside Council’s leader has said the local authority stands “ready and willing” to offer support to those escaping conflict in Ukraine.

By Chris Binding
Thursday, 17th March 2022, 6:50 pm

South Shields Town Hall was lit up in yellow and blue, the colours of the Ukraine flag, on Wednesday, March 16.

At a cabinet meeting the same day, councillor Tracey Dixon, leader of South Tyneside Council, gave a statement on the ongoing conflict.

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South Tyneside Council leader Cllr Tracey Dixon

Cllr Dixon said: “I just want to say a few words on the terrible and deteriorating situation in Ukraine, resulting in many Ukrainians fleeing the country and seeking refuge abroad.

“We stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine, as we do with all civilians living in areas of conflict.

“Lead members will be aware that South Shields Town Hall will be lit up yellow and blue today with the colours of the Ukrainian flag as a symbol of our readiness and willingness to step forward with other councils across the country and offer homes and support to those who are in need.

“We are also looking to support the settlement programme.”

At this week’s cabinet meeting, town hall bosses also noted the humanitarian work taking place across South Tyneside.

Council leader, Cllr Dixon, continued:“We know that kind-hearted residents of South Tyneside are already stepping forward to help.

“As a council, we have been working with wonderful local volunteers to support their efforts and residents and businesses have been making many many donations, much of which are already on their way to the border via Poland.

“South Tyneside Asylum and Refugee Church Helps (STARCH) works hand in hand with our council services to help those seeking a new life in South Tyneside.

“Hebburn Helps are also seeking financial donations to fund their forthcoming delivery of community donations and details of how to donate to this and other charities can be found on our website.

“Our thoughts are with those in Ukraine affected by the war, as well as our residents in our own community with family or friends in the country.”

South Tyneside Asylum and Refugee Church Helps works hand in hand with council services to help those seeking a new life in the UK and in South Tyneside.

The council has donated £1,000 of funding to STARCH to support their preparations, with expected support needed in terms of baby items such as prams, pushchairs, nappies and bedding.

Hebburn Helps is also seeking financial donations to fund their forthcoming delivery of community donations to the Ukrainian/ Polish border.

Details of how to donate can be found at www.hebburnhelps.co.uk and donations should be marked ‘ukrainian appeal’.

Members of the public who wish to donate can do so via the Disasters Emergency Committee https://donation.dec.org.uk/ukraine-humanitarian-appeal

The government recently announced a “homes for Ukraine” programme which will allow individuals, charities, community groups and businesses across the UK to offer a room or home rent-free to Ukrainians escaping the war, regardless of whether they have ties to the country.

The council says it is awaiting further details of the local sponsorship scheme including the infrastructure required by councils in terms of education for pupils as well as health care services.