The Open Community launches major support package, and seed funding for host groups and communities welcoming Ukrainian refugees

12 May 2022. The Open Community has launched a complete package of easily accessible, free resources, to help both hosts and Ukrainian refugees arriving to Ireland. They are available now on our website, theopencommunity.ie and include:

  • A comprehensive online interactive training programme for hosts and community support groups;
  • A downloadable Welcome Plan with step-by step guidance on how to welcome and assist refugees to settle into local communities;
  • Regular online support sessions for hosts and community support groups with experienced hosts and leading experts;
  • A multilingual mobile app called Swift Integration, available in Ukrainian and four other languages, which provides clear and concise information on a range of areas of Irish life.
  • Seed funding of €1,000 for the first 50 community support groups to sign up on the ChangeX platform.

The resources are designed to offer structure, support and guidance to hosts, and emphasise that having a core group of people who can assist and support hosts can make a huge difference. This includes setting up Community Support Groups around each host, of at least 5 people, who can work together to provide wraparound supports to both hosts and those arriving to Ireland.

The seed funding available is provided by the ChangeX Community Response Fund, supported by AWS InCommunities and Deloitte. The fund launches today with an initial €50,000, and will provide €1000 to the first 50 Community Support Groups that complete the five simple steps of the ‘Community Host Programme’ on the ChangeX platform.

All of the resources provided reflect the collective expertise and experience within Ireland’s Community Sponsorship Programme for Refugees, and were also developed based on feedback and surveys conducted with hosts who have already welcomed refugees from Afghanistan and Ukraine.

Roderic O’Gorman, Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, said, “All across Ireland communities have come forward to offer invaluable support and welcome to people fleeing the war in Ukraine. They have opened their homes and their hearts to people who need protection, and their generosity and humanity means that Ireland as a state can play a key role in responding to this unprecedented humanitarian crisis. Working together, state and communities can make an enormous difference. Hosts and communities need support if this work is to be sustainable, and the package of supports launched today by The Open Community will be key to sustaining this fantastic community response.”

Colm O’Gorman, Chair of The Open Community, said: “Hosts and welcoming communities are doing extraordinary work, but they need support and resources so that the assistance they provide can be sustained and so that people arriving from Ukraine can continue to be fully supported as they find safety and rebuild their lives here. This package of supports responds to that immediate need, and are designed to offer ongoing guidance and a central, go-to point of information for hosts.”

Angie Gough of Helping Irish Hosts said: ”These supports are fully aligned with our values and our shared vision for building effective structures to enable successful community hosting of displaced persons. We’re delighted to partner with The Open Community to make sure these valuable resources are available to the network of hosts across Ireland.”

ENDS

Media Contacts: Keelin Fitzgerald, Communications and Information Officer, The Open Community. Email: k.fitzgerald@theopencommunity.ie. Tel: 087 9160 388.

Notes to Editor

  • The Open Community is the National Support Organisation for Ireland’s Community Sponsorship Programme for Refugees, and is a partnership of Doras, The Irish Red Cross, The Irish Refugee Council, Nasc, UNHCR and Amnesty International Ireland. For more information on The Open Community please see theopencommunity.ie/about-the-open-community.
  • The online ‘Training Programme for Hosts and People Supporting Refugees in their Homes and Communities’ was produced by The Open Community with support from Citizens Information and Respond.  The training can be accessed via The Open Community website at https://theopencommunity.ie/host-supports/.
  • The seed funding provided by the ChangeX Community Response Fund is supported by the Community Response Coalition, a growing group of corporates and donors, anchored by AWS InCommunities and Deloitte.
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