Gartree Councillor May 22
Council work can be a slow process while the wheels of bureaucracy grind on, so I was very pleased to be able to provide some limited but rapid support to a refugee Ukrainian family in the first week of May.
My daughter-in-law was born in Ukraine but lived in the USA from the age of seven after her family emigrated following the Chernobyl disaster.
She now lives in London and still has relatives in Ukraine and Russia. One of her cousins, and her son, arrived in London in late April to stay with her while the move to live with a sponsor family was finalised.
Unfortunately, the planned host family in Sunderland was unable to take them, so after being told about this setback, I put out a call on 2 May for help on the Kibworth and Smeeton Information Exchange (KAISE) Facebook page.
Fantastic support from Kibworth
And fantastic Kibworth responded – within an hour I had received two offers! My daughter-in-law contacted the first and within a very short time, I received the good news that the mother and her teenage son could be hosted in Kibworth Beauchamp.
I collected them from Market Harborough station on Thursday 5 May and by mid-morning they were being settled into a safe, warm, well- fitted out annex.
My daughter-in-law introduced them to our Kibworth Co-op for some supplies, and despite arriving in the UK with nothing, they now have a bank account, national insurance numbers and are signed up for universal credit.
There is still a huge amount to undertake including finding paid employment and sorting ongoing education for the son, but they are linking with other Ukrainian families in the area.
The generosity of their new hosts and people in our community is awesome. They will need time for the massive changes in their lives to sink in and to learn enough English to get by, but I am so pleased to have experienced those few days in early May!
With 153 visas issued, this is the highest proportion of refugee Ukrainians here in the Harborough District than any other part of Leicestershire, and already support groups are being advertised.
There is much more to do before they are all fully acclimatised and assimilated into life in the UK and Kibworth in particular, but at least they’ve had a good start.
So much is being organised across the county to help the growing number of Ukrainian refugees, although some of the necessary red tape is very frustrating!
County Children in Care Awards
On 6 May I was very privileged to be invited to a Celebration of Achievements awards event for Leicestershire Children in Care that was held at the National Space Centre.
I was also delighted to hand out over 100 certificates to so many wonderful, happy, dressed-up 5 to 15-year-olds, and to meet and thank carers, families and staff.
Net zero county by 2045
Residents, businesses, councils, universities, and others are being urged to help shape ambitious plans to make Leicestershire a net zero carbon county by 2045 by getting involved in a major consultation.
The consultation is open until 26 July and includes a planned social media campaign with the hashtag #NetZeroLeicestershire, a Facebook live and discussions with young people as part of the wider engagement process. More can be found on the Net zero Leicestershire website.
For copies of the questionnaire in other formats, please email NetZero@leics.gov.uk
Digital County Council Newsletter
A digital version of Leicestershire Matters is now available fortnightly. To sign up to receive your free copy, visit https://www.leicestershire.gov.uk/news/digital-leicestershire-matters-sign-up