LASSN Trustees met this week to discuss LASSN’s response to the events unfolding in Ukraine and how we can be of most use to the people who have been displaced. 

LASSN are pleased that UK Government is opening safe and legal routes to safety for Ukrainian people, and hope that similarly safe and legal routes to the UK will be extended to all refugees.

What is LASSN doing to support Ukrainian people?

LASSN exists as a way for citizens of Leeds to extend a welcome and practical support to all people seeking sanctuary in our City. And when Ukrainian people arrive in Leeds, LASSN will be pleased to offer them the help we extend to all refugees and migrants at risk of harm, wherever they are from.

In the coming months, LASSN’s focus will be on maintaining and developing the support we offer to all refugees, asylum seekers and other migrants at risk of harm. We will continue to offer support and encouragement to other groups and third sector partners who want to help – and we continue to support Leeds City Council as they coordinate the resettlement of refugees from Ukraine, Syria, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

How can I support Ukrainian people?

If you wish to provide specific practical assistance to Ukrainian people, here is a list of ways you can help.

How can I support LASSN’s work?

Although we currently support 200 volunteers and 300 migrant households, most of our projects are already at capacity (or very close). This means that we are not taking on new volunteers for Grace Hosting, English at Home and Befriending until we can afford to train and support these volunteers properly.

We will re-open our volunteer programmes when we have secured the money to expand them. In the meantime, if you wish to help us to support all refugees and asylum seekers, you can donate here if you are able to do so.

Is there anything else I can do?

We hope that the recent events in Ukraine will help more people be aware of the changes outlined in the Government’s Nationalities and Borders Bill. As Alison Lowe, the Deputy Mayor for Police and Crime, put it recently: “In West Yorkshire, we have a long and proud history of welcoming those who are in need or who are fleeing persecution and war. The Nationality and Borders Bill is racist, pure and simple, and I oppose it.” If you feel the same way, Refugee Action have some excellent guidance on contacting your MP as do #togetherwithrefugees

We are also pleased that people who volunteer with LASSN are making their voices heard – like Suhaiymah Manzoor-Khan’s recent opinion piece in the Guardian where she critiques how both politicians and journalists have approached the Ukrainian War and the deep-seated Islamophobia that lies behind some of the actions and statements of some commentators and policymakers.

Thank you to all our volunteers, supporters and well-wishers – and to everyone who shares LASSN’s vision that asylum seekers and refugees will be safe, respected, supported and empowered to rebuild their lives free of persecution. These are troubling times, and we’re grateful for your ongoing support.

Jon Beech, Director