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Route54 – a lifeline to Ukrainian refugees coming to our area

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If you are considering joining the Government Homes for Ukraine scheme and live in the Curry Rivel area, Route54 would like to hear from you.

There are local support groups for hosts and potential hosts, so there is help for finding a suitable match and through the complicated visa application process. But what happens when the guests arrive? That's when we need to rally round and help.

Route54 was set up along the 54 bus route from Fivehead to Somerton to ensure our Ukrainian guests of all ages are well supported and can access the services they need. Its WhatsApp group links hosts who face many changes to their daily lives as well as the families joining us, whether presently in Poland, Ukraine or elsewhere, so that they can, with their compatriots, prepare for their time in England.

Route54 has the offer of premises in Somerton (West Street Church, near the Market Square, on the bus route and close to parking) to open a Community Centre, where our guests can organise their own activities and can access English classes, mental health support and a safe, secure mother and toddler group.

The group has offers of potential help and support both from the local community and our Ukrainian friends. To quote one of them on being told about it, "This is great news! It is very necessary for Ukrainians to have a place for meetings and mutual support. I am happy to help in this centre. I can provide psychological services to Ukrainians. This will help me adapt more easily – by helping other people."

Route54 is now trying to put the Ukrainian families in touch with each other so that those coming to our area can build relationships and get to know each other before they actually arrive. Where possible these will be in age-related peer groups, so teenagers (who will probably mostly be attending Huish Academy) can talk to each other, as can mums with small children, grandmothers etc. It will be advised by them of the facilities they might need, and do its best to put suitable arrangements in place. In a rural area like this it would be easy to become isolated away from your compatriots, your extended family and spouses, in a foreign language environment with a different culture.

To achieve all this Route54 needs volunteers and support from the community as a whole. If you can help, or if you are a host, please contact us – by text to Ivor Dixon (Co-ordinator) 07976 308302 or email levelopps@gmail.com

Other local support groups:

WhatsApp group (Ukrainian Hosting Group) Langport area, contact: gillrickards@aol.com

Homes for Ukraine – Taunton Hosts | Facebook click here

UKRiS (Ukrainian Refugees in Somerton) | Facebook click here

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