A group of 15 UK charities have today launched a joint fundraising appeal to help more than a million refugees fleeing Ukraine.
With the conflict continuing to rise and as the Russian invasion of Ukraine said to be “turning lives upside down”, the government-back group of charities – known as the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) – decided to club their efforts together to provide aid, with one member executive describing the situation as one of the most “heartbreaking [he] had ever seen”.
It is estimated up to four million people could flee Ukraine due to the conflict.
The DEC said that people fleeing the country are in desperate need of food, water, medical assistance and protection.
Many refugees are being forced into hiding to stay safe.
“The majority crossing the borders are women and children arriving with only what they can carry,” the DEC added.
The DEC’s 15 member charities are – Action Against Hunger, ActionAid UK, Age International, British Red Cross, CAFOD, CARE International UK, Christian Aid, Concern Worldwide UK, International Rescue Committee UK, Islamic Relief Worldwide, Oxfam GB, Plan International UK, Save the Children UK, Tearfund, and World Vision UK.
At present, 13 of the DEC member organisations are said to be responding in Ukraine and its neighbouring countries to the Russian invasion, according to the committee.
Giving an insight into the current situation from the perspective of someone on the ground, Andrew Morley – chief executive of World Vision International, who has recently returned from Siret on the Romanian border – explained: “We support children in countless crises across the world, including those I have recently visited such as Syria and the DRC, but I have never seen a more heartbreaking situation.
“All the children I met were crossing the border in tears, with pain and fear in their eyes.
“They were lost and scared.
“They need the basics, simple, practical help [and while] our staff have been present in this area for decades and there on the ground to deliver it, we need financial support to do this.”
Appeals for public donations to the committee – which was first announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson during PMQs yesterday – will be broadcast on various UK news channels over the coming weeks, with every pound donated by the British public set to be matched by the government up to the value of £20 million.
“Time and time again the British people have proved responsive and generous when confronted with a global emergency,” Boris Johnson said.
“And so I have no doubt that millions will support this vital appeal.”
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss added: “The UK stands with people fleeing this terrible conflict and we are working with our humanitarian partners to provide for those in need in Ukraine and the wider region in their hour of need.
“Through the DEC Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal, we will match, pound for pound, up to £20 million of donations from the Great British public, ensuring vital support reaches communities in desperate need of help.”
You can find more information and donate via the DEC here.
Rio Ferdinand is helping change young lives with community programmes in Oldham and Salford
Ex-Manchester United and England defender Rio Ferdinand and his foundation’s wonderful work is helping better the lives of young people in Oldham, Salford and across Manchester as a whole.
Over the past year, the Rio Ferdinand Foundation and The Guinness Partnership have been putting together a vital social initiative aimed at providing opportunities and resources to young people across Greater Manchester, helping them develop their skills and aspirations for future working life.
Now, after a hugely successful 12-month campaign, their skills and progression community programme, participants are well and truly starting to feel the impact, with 90% of those taking part now stating that they are enjoying a clear idea and focus on what they want to do for a career.
It may have be thriving in Salford and Oldham at the moment, but given the benefit the scheme has already had — not to mention the ambition the Rio Ferdinand Foundation has shown around various areas of the UK since being set up in 2012 — we can only see this spreading further across the region.
The skills-based initiative engages young people aged under 25 years old and living in Guinness homes in a six-month skills-based programme which has been up and running in the two Manc boroughs, as well as the London boroughs of Southwark and Lambeth, since March 2022.
Young people from both Oldham and Salford take part in a weekly schedule of activities designed to tackle youth unemployment, including digital media training (photography, product design, filmmaking, podcasting), building and construction, CV workshops, mock interviews and more.
Not only do these shadowing opportunities garner confidence and raise aspirations among other young people in the local community, but they also help directly develop their employability skills via mentoring.
For instance, Matthew, 19 from Royton in Oldham, completed the programme and then was supported to apply to the Guinness Aspire Awards to request funding to purchase camera and lighting equipment to help him start a small local photography business. Quality stuff.
Matt says that the scheme “has been an amazing opportunity and has given [him] a chance to get back on the right path… I know what I want to do now and can’t wait to start… I would recommend that other people in my position get involved with it in the future.”
As well as markedly increasing participants health and well-being, all 100% of those involved across Salford and Oldham reported feeling more confident, with many now enjoying opportunities with the Rio Ferdinand Foundation’s partners such as Warner Music, Kiss FM, The Jockey Club and the Gym Group.
Speaking on the programme’s success, Rio himself said in a statement: “The Foundation is committed to working with young people at the heart of their communities to offer support, training, and opportunities to those that need it… engaging with the Guinness Partnership has provided a great boost to our reach and our work”.
Well in, Rio. Thankfully, he isn’t the only ex-Manchester-based footballer still trying to make a difference in the local community either:
Campbell, 38, was found dead in his home in Mossley, Tameside, on Saturday 3 July. He had been fatally assaulted and died of the injuries he sustained in the attack.
Belfield was arrested on 23 March 2023 by Suriname authorities on suspicion of drug-related offences – he’ll likely remain in the South American nation’s jurisdiction to face these charges.
Then GMP want to bring him back to Manchester to face questioning from GMP’s Major Incident Team.
Detective Chief Inspector Liz Hopkinson from GMP’s Major Incident team said: “The news of Belfield’s arrest is an important development in our investigation, we will be working with international law enforcement agencies to bring Belfield back to Manchester and continue in our pursuit to find answers for Thomas’ family.
“Through vigilance shown by our colleagues in South America, Belfield was recognised by Suriname’s law enforcement upon his arrest and information regarding his whereabouts was shared with our Force Critical Wanted Unit.
“We have previously released numerous appeals to ask for help in finding him and we thank the public for their continued support in this case.
“This is an excellent result which shows once again, that UK law enforcement does not give up on finding those abroad who are wanted for offences in the UK.”