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Context: Russia invaded Ukraine on the 24th February 2022. By 20th March approximately a quarter of the country’s total population had left their homes. More than six million people had already left Ukraine and nearly eight million people had been displaced within the country by 21st April – 90% of Ukrainian refugees are women and children.

The response from Chagford: In March, a public meeting at St Michael’s Church, Chagford was attended by over 120 people, all anxious to do what they could to help. This was the beginning of the Chagford Sanctuary project which aims to support both Ukrainians and their Dartmoor hosts.  In the Chagford area alone, there are fourteen families who have registered with the Homes for Ukraine scheme and so far, five families have Ukrainian guests. Some have self-contained accommodation; others have become part of the family. The launch of Chagford Sanctuary followed a successful evening of music at St Michael’s, performed by wonderful local musicians, and a soup lunch which together raised £1,500 for the UK DEC appeal.

What is the Chagford Sanctuary project doing? Some of the ways that we are aiming to provide support include: coordinating teaching English as an additional language; provision of local gym and swimming facilities; fundraising to provide financial resources to those most in need; help with transport; help with providing food; and pastoral support – a listening ear, to hosts and Ukrainians. The project is also providing a welcome pack to all Ukrainians arriving in the Chagford area. We are also organising social events bringing together Ukrainians, hosts and volunteers.

How do I get involved? We have set up a simple mailing list to keep people informed about what we are doing and ways to contribute. Please do get in touch using the form below if you want to be added to the mailing list and feel free to e-mail Jane at Sanctuary@Chagfordchurch.co.uk with any specific questions that you have.

What links do you have with other organisations? Other local support networks are being set up across Devon and we are sharing resources as much as possible, learning together how to offer a warm welcome. We also have close links to the Chagford Hospitality Network that provides holidays for asylum seekers.

If you would like to be added to our mailing list please complete the form below