Plane tickets for Ukrainian refugees

STORIES
First published on: 10th May 2022

Ukrainian refugees seeking to get to the UK can now get help with the costs of their flights. The Anglican Church of Poland, based in Warsaw, has received a grant of £10,000 from USPG and the Diocese in Europe’s joint emergency appeal to pay for plane tickets.

Approximately three million refugees have fled Ukraine since the start of the Russian invasion on 24 February, with over two million arriving in Poland. Most migrants entering Poland use the country as a staging post before continuing their journey to other countries in Western Europe, including the United Kingdom and Germany. Others remain in Poland for the long term.

Many of these refugees arriving in Poland speak no Polish but speak English, making the UK a natural destination for them until it is safe to return to Ukraine. The UK government scheme 'Homes for Ukraine', is designed to help Ukrainians find homes in the UK. However, the process for Ukrainians to gain a visa under the scheme is complex; applicants must apply through the online registration system and provide documentation proving their connection to the war-stricken country.

Unfortunately, there is little official financial support available to help refugees during this process, so many charities and religious organisations have stepped in to provide accommodation, food and essentials for those in need, including the Diocese in Europe’s chaplaincy in Warsaw.

One further obstacle to arriving in the UK remains: refugees often do not have the financial ability to pay the cost of airfare to the UK. No organisation is offering such funds to successful applicants. In partnership with the Diocese in Europe, USPG has granted the Anglican Church of Poland £10,000 to provide grants to refugees currently based in Poland heading to the UK in need of financial support to purchase plane tickets.

Andrew Caspari, Chief Operating Officer of the Diocese in Europe, said:

‘Our chaplaincy in Warsaw has identified a significant block in the road for refugees hoping to come to the UK. The generosity of donors across the diocese has been amazing. It means we can help refugees as they try to overcome what can be big hurdles in meeting their desire to travel to the UK and receive hospitality here.’

The chaplaincy has been supporting refugees arriving from Ukraine in various ways since the start of the crisis. With extensive links to the UK and direct contact with many refugees, the chaplaincy is well-placed to act as a 'hub' and identify individuals in need of support, offer financial support to purchase plane tickets and ensure signposting to other relevant services.