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Portesham Refugee Support Group


The Portesham Refugee Support Group (PRSG) was set up in March 2022 to provide practical support for refugees and their hosts. We have established links with Government, Community and Charitable Organisations to further our understanding of the needs and to find out how we can best play our part in providing a refuge for people escaping war or other disasters.

The response to our earlier appeal was superb, with about 50 people offering financial support or other assistance to help integrate Ukrainian refugees into our community. Several households very kindly offered to host a family on an initial 6-month basis until more permanent accommodation could be found.

Thanks to this support, we were able to welcome our first Ukrainian guests in early June 22. While they subsequently decided to return home, they nevertheless expressed their deep gratitude to their host and the people of Portesham for the warm welcome and support they had received during their respite here.

Having just passed the anniversary of the start of the War in the Ukraine, we would like to provide you with an update on what has been achieved since we were formed.

We are now supporting two hosts in the village, both of whom have welcomed a Ukrainian family into their homes. Julia and her daughter Sophia have been with David for the last six months and plan to stay with him for a further period. They have become well integrated into our community, Julia has found two part-time jobs and Sophia has settled well into the village school. Natalia and her daughter Nastya arrived with Keith and Fiona on the 10th February and are being supported in the process of climatization and registration with the appropriate governmental and local organisations.

When we were established we asked for support in three areas:- as hosts, community and financial supporters. As far as financial requirements were concerned we had little idea as to what the level of need would be. We now understand that financial help is needed in the initial stages of integration and for one-off items, such as school uniforms, mobile phones and dental treatment etc. In the future, depending on how long our guests stay with us, we may need funds to pay for rental deposits/guarantees for independent accommodation.

At the moment, thanks to your generosity, we have almost £2,000 in our bank account and our monthly spend is low. In the circumstances, we do not feel that we can continue to ask you for money. We suggest, if you wish, that you suspend your standing orders effective from the end of March 23 however, should you wish to maintain the payments, we will of course be delighted.

This decision has been difficult. This dreadful war shows no sign of achieving a peaceful resolution, it may go on for years, In those circumstances, more and more families are likely to become refugees and many of them may well come to the UK. In that eventuality we hope that this wonderful community would once again step up and provide support in whatever way they could.

In the meantime, on behalf of the PRSG Committee, our two hosts and our lovely families, thank you so much for all the help you have provided.

John Mason (Chair) 01305 871117

Lesley Balmer (Treasurer) 01305 871124

Geoff Hawtin (Secretary) 01305 871043

Vaughan Jones 01305 871740

David Paton 07872064528

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