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Support for Ukraine

As the tragic situation in Ukraine continues to unfold, with people forced to leave their homes and in many cases leave loved ones behind it is heartening to see the large numbers of British people wanting to offer their homes to refugees.  Mortgage lenders are supportive of the Government’s Homes for Ukraine Sponsorship scheme which will enable homeowners across the UK to provide accommodation to refugees fleeing the war.  Both the BSA and UK Finance are working closely with the Government to create a process for hosts and guests that is as swift and straightforward as possible whilst ensuring security and stability for both parties.

Within the building society sector there has been a positive, heartfelt and wide ranging response, a representation of how mutuals support their local and wider communities.  Reactions have ranged from financial donations to charities operating in Ukraine and surrounding countries, or in local communities preparing to receive refugees; volunteering agreements, giving staff time during their working week to volunteer with charities and community organisations, and and offering vacant office space, once suitably refurbished, and vacant rental properties to Ukrainian refugees. 

Skipton Building Society, Leeds Building Society and the West Brom are all finding innovative ways to offer a safe home and support to Ukrainian refugees.  The West Brom are making 11 homes in their rental portfolio available in the Midlands, South Wales and Bristol and will also look to support refugees with employment opportunities once they are settled.  The Leeds is rapidly converting office space above their Peterborough branch to create 17 bedrooms plus kitchens, bathrooms and social spaces. And the Skipton is offering its own vacant properties to refugees under the Homes for Ukraine Scheme and will be their sponsor. 

The Yorkshire Building Society has given colleagues the opportunity to support the humanitarian appeal with unlimited paid volunteering time until Easter.

Many societies are making donations directly to the key charities working to provide help where it’s most needed, namely the Disasters Emergency Committee and the British Red Cross.  Other are keen to offer members and colleagues a secure way to donate, accepting donations in branches and online. 

Nationwide Building Society has gone one step further and matched the donations of members and colleagues to the Red Cross, up to £250,000, with over £650,000 raised so far and has also suspended the £20 payment charge for making SWIFT payments to those countries most directly impacted by the war. Alongside their donation to the DEC, Leeds Building Society are also 50% match-funding colleague donations up to another £25,000.

The support doesn’t end there, and Coventry Building Society is looking to the future with £50,000 ring-fenced to support refugees as they arrive in Coventry, working with partner charities to ensure the money helps those refugees settle.  These are just a few examples.

We sincerely hope the situation in the Ukraine improves rapidly and a peaceful resolution is found, but in the meantime, the sector support will go some way to help those people displaced by the war.

Posted by Katie Wise on 31 March 2022