Since the start of May, UCAN Staff and Volunteers have been providing help and support for refugees arriving at Stansted Airport after fleeing the conflict in the Ukraine. We operate a ‘Humanitarian Hub’ eighteen hours a day, seven days a week

This month alone we have helped over 2,000 refugee adults and children arriving in the UK from Europe, many who have had to flee their home country with nothing but the clothes they stand up in, a few possessions and the hope of a safe place to stay in England, Scotland or Wales.

Stansted Airport is one of the busiest hubs in the country, and is operated by a dedicated team of staff and volunteers who work from 9.00 a.m. through to 12.30 a.m. each day of the week, in shifts of 4 to 8 hours. They are local people who want to “do our part” for no recognition or reward, and offer a warm welcome to distressed people who may have been travelling non-stop for two or three days.

On arrival at Stansted, the Ukraine Support Team give a warm welcome and assess the immediate needs of the travellers. This can be a smile of encouragement, a cup of coffee and a bite to eat, or might be more complex with assistance needed in finding a place to live. Thanks to the kindness of the Vodafone Foundation, we are able to provide UK mobile sim cards with calls and data, to help the refugees during their onward journey to their final destination. For those staying in the airport for a little while, we have blankets, pillows and food vouchers, toys and games for the children and can make sure everyone feels safe, welcome and wanted.

The Ukraine Support Hub has been made possible thanks to the commitment of local people, and UCAN and Volunteer Uttlesford working closely together once again to respond to a crisis situation. We would like to acknowledge the generosity of the food vendors at the airport, the MAG Staff Team, National Express and the Rail Companies who have donated subsidised meals, bottled water, food vouchers, toys, games and toiletries. Small gifts make a huge difference.

Thank you everyone.