On this page:
- Our commitment to refugees from Ukraine
- Our commitment to refugees from Afghanistan
- Frequently asked questions - Afghan refugee crisis
- Information for residents and groups who want to help
- How to support local, national and international efforts (financial donations, clothing and volunteering)
- Foster a child
- Community sponsorship
- Need support or information
Hackney has a long-standing reputation of being open and welcoming to migrants and refugees, especially those fleeing conflict in hope of a better life. The refugee crisis in Europe continues to get worse, and as conflicts escalate and become more turbulent in many countries, more and more individuals and families are seeking sanctuary elsewhere.
In light of the escalating conflict in Ukraine that has so far led to approximately 2.5 million people being displaced from the country, the UK government has made preparations to welcome Ukrainian refugees to the UK. Two schemes – the Ukraine Family Scheme and the Homes for Ukraine sponsorship scheme – are in effect to help Ukrainians come to the UK.
The Homes for Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme
The Homes for Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme opened on 18 March 2022.
The scheme enables individuals to sponsor a named refugee from Ukraine to live in their spare room or empty accommodation.
Our Homes for Ukraine information pack gives advice on how the scheme is running in Hackney and information on how to access local services.
Our Homes for Ukraine Notice Board is updated with events and news relevant to those hosting Ukrainian guests and people arriving in Hackney from Ukraine.
If you have questions about the scheme you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have a spare room or unoccupied self-contained accommodation and would like to offer this to a Ukrainian refugee, we would love to hear from you. Register your interest below.
The Council has committed to participating in the current live scheme for locally employed Afghan staff and also the wider Afghan refugee resettlement scheme. We will work with all of our partners and local community organisations to offer the best help we can to individuals and families who find themselves in this difficult situation.
As part of our response to participating in the resettlement scheme, we are currently looking at a comprehensive and supported integration offer that will help refugees settle and be supported in Hackney. This is likely to include housing, health care, education, adult skills and community connections and integration.
A whole range of Council services will be involved in ensuring refugees from Afghanistan have the support they need, including:
- adults and children’s social care
- early years services
- Young Hackney
- health visiting services
- community safety
- housing needs
- public health
- schools and education
Virtual stakeholder session
An online session with faith leaders, community and voluntary sector groups, Council services and wider stakeholders took place on 28 September 2021 to identify ways we can support refugees from Afghanistan as well as asylum seekers placed in hotels within the borough.
At the moment most Afghan refugees are in hotels managed by central government.
Afghan refugees are being registered with GP practices and a number of community groups are already supporting these hotels with wider support needs such as clothing, activities and other essentials.
If you wish to show your support to Ukraine, it has been advised that financial donations are more needed than donated goods (e.g. food, clothes and medical supplies). The organisations below are providing support to those affected by the crisis that you can donate to.
- With Ukraine
The Embassy of Ukraine in the UK has established an emergency support fund to provide humanitarian assistance to Ukraine’s civilian population.
You can donate at withukraine.org
- Help Ukraine Emergency Appeal
The Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain has set up a Go Fund Me to provide medicines, food and critical services to those affected by the conflict in Ukraine.
You can donate at gofundme.com
How to support local, national and international efforts (financial donations, clothing and volunteering)
London Plus is building a list of organisations, particularly those that are London-based, for signposting and matching support for those affected by the Ukraine crisis.
Please see the London Plus document for ways to help.
E5 Baby Bank
Care4Calais have a donation page specifically for East London, and the charity also has collection points around the UK for clothing donations, which are sorted according to the number and age of people in nearby hotels.
They particularly want good quality shoes and coats for adults and children, baby buggies and baby carriers and unlocked smartphones. Help by labelling up donations into bags showing the size or age of items. They also need money for new underwear and socks, and for the cost of hiring storage units and van transport
Hackney Refugee Forum
Advice in Hackney
There are many refugees that have already settled in Hackney that need your help and support. Hackney’s advice sector works with many of these refugees and you can visit Advice in Hackney’s directory to find out more about these organisations and how you can apply to volunteer or donate money.
National or international
- Refugee Council – an independent charity working with refugees in the UK including supporting Syrian refugees seeking asylum in the UK
- Save the Children – distributing essential items such as nappies, hygiene kits and food
- Red Cross Europe – providing emergency health services at central train stations
- Migrant Offshore Aid Station – dedicated to preventing migrant deaths at sea
- International Rescue Committee – improving living conditions by setting up camps
- The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) – providing water, mosquito nets, tents, healthcare
- Refugee Action – advice about claiming asylum, the asylum process, asylum support
- World Vision – providing food, water, shelter, education and psychosocial care
Unaccompanied children are vulnerable and may be traumatised following their experience and journey. They need safe homes where they can have the time, space and support to begin to rebuild their lives.
The Community Sponsorship Scheme, launched in July 2016, enables local community groups to support refugees in their local communities. It was introduced by the Home Office in response to civil society organisations’ wish to play a greater role in refugee resettlement. You can learn more by visiting the RESET website.
Please visit the dedicated UK government webpage for information on how to request assistance for resettling vulnerable family members from Afghanistan to the UK and information here for the latest government information for Ukraine.
If you have lost contact with a loved one and have been unsuccessful in contacting them through the normal means of communication because of the recent events in Afghanistan, the British Red Cross International Family Tracing service may be able to help. Please get in touch with your nearest family tracing office.
If you or someone you know needs support or immigration advice, the following organisations can help:
- Ukraine Advice Project is a group of volunteer legal professionals who are providing free legal advice on UK immigration, visas and asylum from qualified and regulated lawyers.
- Hackney Migrant Advice are offering immigration, housing and welfare advice at their face to face appointments every Wednesday.
- Hackney Community Law Centre is a charity employing solicitors and caseworkers to provide free and independent legal advice and representation to people living, working or studying in Hackney and surrounding boroughs.
- Praxis is a charity for migrants and refugees which offers immigration advice. Praxis is combining with Hackney Council for Voluntary Service (HCVS) to hold an information event in the HCVS Conference Room on Tuesday 5th April, 13.00 – 16.00. There will be an opportunity for residents to speak to an immigration advisor about their possible next steps.