People displaced as a result of the war in Ukraine are being supported with £215,000 funding for Edinburgh-based community organisations.
Those seeking refuge in the city will be supported to integrate, secure jobs and access mental health services as a result of the funds, announced by the Scottish Government on Monday.
The funding has been announced ahead of Independence Day of Ukraine.
Edinburgh Voluntary Organisations’ Council (EVOC), Volunteer Edinburgh, The Welcoming Project, Feniks and the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain’s (AUGB) Edinburgh branch are sharing the funds from the Scottish Government’s Ukraine Programme funding pot.
Making the announcement, migration minister Emma Roddick said: “People all over Scotland, and particularly in Edinburgh, have welcomed those fleeing the war in Ukraine into their communities, their schools and workplaces and their homes.
“Third sector organisations have been at the heart of this warm welcome, supporting Ukrainians every step of the way. They have hosted English lessons, created social hubs and helped people to access local services.
“They have also showcased what can be achieved when national and local government, and the third sector work together, and this funding will help make sure this important partnership working continues.
“As we look ahead to the Independence Day of Ukraine, our message to Ukrainians remains clear: we stand with you, and we want Scotland to be your home for as long as you need it.”
The City of Edinburgh council leader Cammy Day welcomed the news and said he would work closely with the third sector groups supporting Ukrainians.
He said: “Third sector organisations here in Edinburgh have been a cornerstone of the partnership effort to support displaced Ukrainians over the last 18 months. I’m sure I speak on behalf of all colleagues when I say that they have made a real and tangible difference to the lives of the people who have fled their country following Russia’s illegal war against Ukraine. It is right and proper that these organisations are set to benefit from the Scottish Government’s Ukraine Programme funding.
“I have seen firsthand the difference that these organisations make in our communities across a wealth of different areas. From language classes to support with health and wellbeing to helping people into work and education and so much more their impact cannot be understated.”
Edinburgh Voluntary Organisations’ Council – £50,000
EVOC (Edinburgh Voluntary Organisations’ Council) develops and promotes the interests and work of voluntary and community organisations across the city.
The £50,000 awarded by the Scottish Government will help provide support including one of four cross-sector staff members to support Edinburgh’s Ukraine response.
EVOC chief executive Bridie Ashrowan said: “This funding from the Scottish Government’s Ukraine directorate will continue to help community and voluntary sector partners in Edinburgh to play a key role in the city’s cross-sector response to the war in Ukraine.
“This investment is essential to ensure the response can be agile and expand on existing services like employability, mental health support, English language lessons and social activities.”
Volunteer Edinburgh – £50,000
Volunteer Edinburgh aims to build strong social connections, reduce inequalities and support communities through volunteering activities.
The investment of £50,000 will go towards the employment of a dedicated Ukrainian support worker, a displaced Ukrainian themselves.
They will, in turn, support volunteers across a range of interventions and services for Ukrainians in Edinburgh including ongoing work at Edinburgh Airport, provision of opportunities to improve English, wellbeing activities and access to volunteering roles.
Chief executive Paul Wilson said: “Since the start of the war in Ukraine volunteers have been at the heart of our response, personally welcoming and supporting over 6,800 displaced Ukrainians at Edinburgh Airport.
“This vital funding not only allows us to continue that work, but also other volunteer delivered support including English language conversation café’s and wellbeing activities, as well as support displaced Ukrainian people themselves to access volunteering as part of their further integration.
“Many Ukrainians are keen to give back to the country that has welcomed them while improving their own language and employability skills. Volunteering by Ukrainians themselves is playing an important role in that.”
The Welcoming Association Edinburgh – £50,000
The Welcoming Association Edinburgh has been supporting asylum seekers, refugees, and migrants – or ‘new Scots’ – to Scotland since 2000 by ensuring they feel at home in their new communities to learn English, find jobs and access local services.
They connect people with local residents through social and cultural exchange.
Currently, the organisation supports 2,981 new Scots, 985 of whom are Ukrainians.
The group creates opportunities to find friendship, sustainable living, creativity, health, and well-being.
The funding of £50,000 will provide English classes, employment and health and wellbeing support.
Director Tesfu Gessesse said: “As our Ukrainian participants celebrate their Independence Day on Thursday, 24th of August 2023, we also affirm our solidarity and unwavering continuous support to the community”.
Feniks – £50,000
Feniks Counselling, Personal Development and Support Services Ltd. is a grass-roots charitable organisation set up in 2007 to support Central and Eastern European (CEE) communities in Edinburgh and Scotland wide.
They aim to address health inequalities, promote integration and support CEE communities’ well-being and human rights.
They provide culturally sensitive psychological support; community groups; advice and advocacy and immigration advice relating to the EU Settlement Scheme.
Feniks have been involved in supporting the Ukrainian community since conflict began in February 2022.
Drawing on 16 years of experience with the CEE community, they have mobilised and supported newly arrived Ukrainian therapists and psychologists, and set up the Ukrainian Mental Health Support Project.
The new Scottish Government funding will offer allow for the employment of a Ukrainian community development worker and mental health workers.
Feniks chief executive Magda Czarnecka said: “Feniks stands in solidarity with Ukraine and has leveraged 16 years of experience supporting Central and Eastern European communities to promote the health and wellbeing of Ukrainian citizens in Scotland.
“Employing Ukrainian community development and mental health workers, and mobilising the skills and expertise of ten Ukrainian mental health professionals since June 2022, has helped us offer crucial practical and psychological support and this has been possible thanks to Scottish Government funding.”
Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain (AUGB) Edinburgh – £15,000
AUGB is the largest representative body for Ukrainians and those of Ukrainian descent in the UK, and helps to develop, promote and support the interests of the Ukrainian community.
Since the beginning of the war, AUGB Edinburgh has supported those displaced to settle in Edinburgh and throughout Scotland.
The group works with the local authority, Scottish Government and third sector to influence policy decisions.
The latest funding announcement of £15,000 will help provide support for integration and the employment of a community coordinated to deliver weekly activities around the English language, mental health and youth work.