Update: 22 March 2022 - Caritas has received numerous expressions of interest in hosting, welcoming and supporting refugees from the conflict in Ukraine.
The pieces are now beginning to fall into place nationally, enabling us to develop ways locally to support parishes and individuals in their response.
This update provides you with the picture at time of writing. In particular it invites you and representatives of your parish to attend an open workshop on Zoom next Monday afternoon. Here is an advert which you are encouraged to place in your parish bulletin. After it you will find a summary of the latest situation.
Parishes of welcome
A network for anyone interested in developing the Church's welcome for Ukrainian refugees in the Diocese of Nottingham.
Monday 28 March 2022
2.00 - 3.30 pm. on Zoom
You are warmly invited to sign up to Parishes of Welcome, a network in the Diocese of Nottingham where anyone can find support in responding to the refugee crisis, as an individual and as a parish.
You are particularly invited to our first workshop on Monday. Caritas is working with colleagues in the diocesan Property and Safeguarding Departments to offer this opportunity to:
- Find inspiration from Scripture and Catholic social teaching, to discover how you might be called to respond to the refugee crisis
- Learn how the Church is responding nationally with guidance from Caritas Social Action Network and others
- Get the latest picture on matching of sponsors with refugees, safeguarding, use of parish property… and issues still to be resolved
- Explore how the Catholic community can help build a wider welcome, working with other churches and charities, local Ukrainian communities and local authorities.
A key step in developing our diocesan response will be our Parishes of Welcome workshop on 28 March, advertised above. You will be able to find out more about what we know, and what remains to be resolved, in regard to support for Ukrainian refugees. Further details are also provided in the Caritas Grapevine e-bulletin of last Friday, which you can read here.
What we know
- The government has launched the Homes for Ukraine scheme. Prospective sponsors can express an interest at campaign.gov.uk
- Sponsors can now register for a match with Ukrainian refugees via the independent website homesforukraine.org.uk. This service is provided by the charity Reset and has been endorsed by Caritas Social Action Network (CSAN) for all dioceses.
- The most effective thing you can do right now is to start building connections with local groups and charities working with refugees and asylum seekers, and volunteer to develop the support networks which sponsors will need from them when refugees start to arrive
- The most effective contribution the diocese can make is to support parishioners as they take undertake to host or otherwise welcome refugees, working with local organisations with the necessary expertise
- CSAN has published a best practice toolkit for dioceses, which will be continually updated: org.uk/ukraine
- The diocese's insurers have given advice which is helpful for clergy and parishes who would like to offer accommodation in diocesan property, including presbyteries. Anyone considering doing so should contact Rachael Oxspring in the diocesan property office in the first instance, so that we can establish the property's suitability.
- The national Catholic Safeguarding Standards Agency is working with the Home Office to explore how DBS can best support the scheme, and what role parish and diocesan safeguarding representatives can play.
What we plan to work on
- Our humanitarian response as Catholics will be most effective if we work ecumenically - not least with the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy here. We are in touch with Fr David Senyk, priest for the Ukrainian communities in Derby, Leicester and Nottingham.
- We’d welcome your help to map local organisations and networks which are developing refugee support, for instance refugee forums, Churches Together groups and local government partnerships.
- At the Parishes of Welcome workshop on 28 March (ly/ParishesofWelcome) we’d like to assess the need for networks of support for prospective sponsors; interest in various kinds of accompaniment with refugees; and the potential for a toolkit for opening a place of welcome or practical service in parish premises.
What we do not yet know
Some key questions still need to be resolved at national level, including:
- The roles and responsibilities of local authorities, charities and churches, particularly around on-the-ground co-ordination of support and safeguarding.
- Hosts’ liabilities to insurers and other parties with a legal interest (e.g. mortgage provider, freeholder, management company)
- How to ensure appropriate and trauma-informed support for guests from Ukraine, and to minimise the risks to each party.
Further briefings will be circulated to those who sign up to Parishes of Welcome (bit.ly/ParishesofWelcome) and in the Caritas Grapevine e-bulletin (bit.ly/CaritasGrapevine), and will also be summarised in future Wednesday Roundups. For further information or questions, please do not hesitate to contact:
Paul Bodenham, Caritas Diocese of Nottingham