MORE than 300 Ukrainian families forced to flee their homeland following the Russian invasion have been supported in Scotland thanks to a charity initiative

Barnardo’s Scotland Welcome (Ukraine) Service, which was set up in the summer, works to ensure refugees from the war-torn country feel safe, welcome and included in their early life north of the border. 

The charity has given more than 300 Barnardo’s Scotland £100 vouchers, alongside other items, to displaced families, including toys and dozens of mobile sim cards.

Martin Crewe, director of Barnardo’s Scotland, said his organisation offers support across Scotland, notably in hotels and on board cruise ships MS Ambition and MS Victoria, to make sure Ukrainians feel less isolated and can begin to integrate into their communities.

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“Information about how to access support with money, benefits and employment is provided along with exploring ways to reduce isolation,” he said.

“None of this would have been possible without our dedicated team.

“We have been very fortunate to recruit five sessional staff who have been displaced from Ukraine along with having four staff who have been settled in the UK for a number of years.

“This is ensuring that we have cultural understanding and compassion for those living with us in Scotland.”

Other essential items donated to families include clothing, footwear, digital equipment, baby items, prams, wheelchairs and walking aids.

One parent, from Ukraine, had this to say about the help her family received: “We would like to thank the work of Barnardo’s Scotland.

"Our family received a mobile phone to help and also psychological support. We have been in Scotland for a month and have faced financial problems.

"We turned to the organisation for help, and they listened and gave us moral support and hope.”

Allocated project workers offer practical support, including helping access digital devices to ensure families stay connected.

The charity works with local authorities and other organisations as part of the project.