A GROUP in a Powys town is holding discussions on welcoming Ukrainian refugees to the area and how they can be supported.

The Knighton and District Refugee Support Group (KDRSG) has worked to welcome and support people seeking refuge in the UK by providing respite and sanctuary, as well as raising awareness and funds since it was set up in 2019 – and lately they have been mobilising people locally to help support Ukrainian residents fleeing the carnage in their homeland since Russia invaded in February.

The Welsh Government has signed up to the Homes for Ukraine as a super-sponsor, which means Wales will sponsor up to 1,000 people from Ukraine in the first phase, but the country could take more people in the future.

“In March, as an immediate response to the invasion of Ukraine, Knighton and District Refugee Support Group donated £1,000 to the Disasters Emergency Committee,” said a group spokesperson.

“Following a well-attended meeting on March 23 in Presteigne, which was chaired by KDRSG for those interested in hosting Ukrainian refugees, a register of potential hosts was started.

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“We have contacted Knighton Town Council and Knighton Community Centre with a proposal for holding a similar meeting in Knighton.”

In addition to the Disasters Emergency Committee, the group is organising further fundraising events. The next event is a table sale this Saturday, April 9, between 10am and 12noon at St Edwards Church Hall, Knighton.

“As we know the government approach continues to be chaotic and slow, although the Welsh Government appear to be making more headway,” added the group.

“Links are being made in Knighton with other community groups and we are liaising with the resettlement project officer at Powys County Council who is receiving enquiries from those who want to help.

“Hopefully the situation is making people generally more aware of the needs and plight of all refugees wherever they are from.

“Campaigning locally and nationally is vital. As we know, there are people from other nations as well as Ukraine seeking sanctuary and we will be including them too, and considering how many individuals and families we can welcome and support as a community.

“We are also making every effort to ensure that while understandably the focus has been on Ukraine, we do not lose sight of the many thousands of refugees from other areas of conflict also in need of help.

“To this end we continue to offer support and welcome to all refugees, and KDRSG is looking to organise a respite day for refugees this year. The last one was hugely successful. Unfortunately, Covid prevented respite days taking place in 2020 and 2021.”

KDRSG continues to lobby against legislative change which would further entrench a hostile environment for refugees and for a humanitarian response, such as the Dubs amendment.

For more information on the group and their events, visit the Knighton and District Refugee Support Group on Facebook or email knightonrsg@gmail.com.

The KDRSG welcomes donations. Contact the group on email or Facebook to find out how to donate.