A humanitarian hub has been set up at London Luton Airport to provide practical support for air passengers arriving from war-torn Ukraine.
Organised by Bedfordshire’s Local Resilience Forum which brings together partners such as local authorities, NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups, emergency services, the charity and voluntary sector and the airport, the hub operates by providing a warm welcome to those suffering the trauma of being uprooted from their homeland.
At the hub arrivals are greeted by volunteers from the Bedfordshire and Luton Emergency Volunteers Executive Committee, British Red Cross and the Airport Chaplaincy.
As well as a friendly face, refreshments are provided, while advisers are able to give guidance for onward travel within the UK. Paramedics from the Hearts First Ambulance Service are also on hand to provide mental and physical health support information.
A whole array of advice, information and useful contact numbers from local and national agencies is available for the arrivals, many of whom are bewildered and confused by recent events and facing a very uncertain future.
Whole families are arriving and children in particular are comforted, not just to see the familiar colours of the Ukrainian flag in the reception area, but to see some heart-felt artwork designed by Luton’s Surrey Street Primary, Cardinal Newman Catholic and Queen Elizabeth schools.
Alberto Martin, CEO at London Luton Airport said: “As an international airport we help to connect cultures, places and people, so it has been heart breaking to witness events unfold in Ukraine.
“We are proud of the support we provide to our communities and are glad we can play a small part in ensuring a warm welcome to Ukrainian families as they arrive in the UK.”
Amanda Carcary, senior emergency response officer for the British Red Cross in Bedfordshire, said: “Kindness is so vital when people arrive in the UK after an experience like this, which is why our teams are trained to give emotional support as well as help people with practical things.
“We know that people are leaving family behind in Ukraine and enduring long, cold journeys to get to safety, so we are here to offer them a warm welcome. We have Ukrainian-language welcome packs with key information about life in the UK.”
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