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North Ayrshire Council has said that it is ready to offer sanctuary and support to those displaced by the deepening conflict in Ukraine.
Last month COSLA wrote to all Scottish local authority chief executives, asking them to provide an indication of individual councils’ positions, should the UK Government enhance their current support for Ukraine.
This week the council’s cabinet confirmed that the council was ready, willing and able to offer practical humanitarian help to those fleeing the war.
Councillors also state that they are well placed to offer support should the UK Government develop a scheme for resettling Ukrainian refugees, with their well-established Refugee Task Force which will assist with identifying suitable accommodation and help refugees access services such as GPs, schools, dentists and welfare benefits.
Council leader Joe Cullinane said: ‘We have all been left horrified by the plight of Ukrainians, who have been forced to uproot their lives and flee their homes with their families.
‘They face an uncertain future, and we will be ready to offer the help they need.
‘Not only will they require accommodation but they will need access to vital services and we will be able to rely on our past experience in offering such help to those who have found themselves in a similar situation.’
North Ayrshire Council will also offer practical support to organisations which are making plans to offer direct assistance to those displaced by the conflict.
Voluntary organisations and partners fundraising for the Disasters Emergency Committee appeal and other Ukrainian charities will be offered free lets for council facilities and other practical support. KA Leisure will also support this approach.
The council will also support the North Ayrshire third sector interface (The Ayrshire Community Trust and Arran CVS) to establish a coordination role in liaising with and supporting local organisations, schools and volunteers who wish to supply direct aid to Ukrainian residents.
According to the latest figures from the United Nations, approximately two million people have been forced to flee Ukraine following the Russian invasion.