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Cambridge commits to supporting refugees from Ukraine

News release from 2 March 2022

CAMBRIDGE City Council has pledged its support for refugees leaving Ukraine to escape the Russian invasion.

Cllr Anna Smith, Leader of the Council, co-signed a letter that was sent to the Home Secretary yesterday calling on the government to do even more in response to the invasion and to support Ukrainian people.

Cllr Alex Collis, Executive Councillor for Open Spaces, Sustainable Food and Community Wellbeing, said: “The appalling scenes from Ukraine of bombs being dropped on civilians and families being separated are heart breaking.

“These people, whose lives have been turned upside down in a matter of days, need sanctuary and support and we stand ready to play our part in providing that in Cambridge.

“We have a proud record of welcoming refugees over many years, and we call on the government to do even more to help Ukrainian people.

“This includes immediately offering a safe and legal passage for Ukrainian refugees coming to the UK, fleeing danger from this war in their home country and even stronger sanctions, more visa bans and asset freezes on Kremlin-linked figures and companies.

“We also need the government to set out a comprehensive national plan for Ukrainian refugees so that we, and other councils, can give direct help and support.

“As we have in the past, we will work closely with our partners and call on the expertise of those in our community to provide the help people need.

“Cambridge will offer the same warm welcome to refugees from Ukraine as it has those from Syria, Afghanistan and other nations.

“We will make sure that Cambridge continues to be a city of sanctuary.”

The council has an established commitment to supporting refugees. It was one of the first authorities in the East of England to respond to the government call in 2015 for councils to help to resettle 20,000 mainly Syrian refugees across the UK, fleeing war torn countries that also included Iraq and Sudan.

Since then, the council has developed a strong record of supporting refugees, with its experienced staff team supporting refugee families to establish new lives in and around Cambridge.