A COMMUNITY hub to support refugees and hosting families is entering its fourth week, attended by around 20 refugees in the heart of Salisbury every Friday.

Not only is the hub a space for people affected by the Russia Ukraine war to connect, but a chance for them to gain advice and support, as well as being introduced to new skills and opportunities every week.

“This is about the little things we can do to help,” said hub volunteer and charity worker Jane Ebel.

Jane was in Moldova, one of Ukraine’s neighbouring countries, last month, and she plans to return in June to continue her work and support overseas.

Responding to the local effort however, Jane said: “The response has just been so amazing, it’s just about identifying where we can help people. It’s lovely knowing we can put [refugees] somewhere safe.

“There is no way that what is happening is going to stop any time soon and this is how we need to respond.”

READ MORE: MBE recipient Jane on her trip to Moldova and her efforts to help refugees

The hub, based at Salisbury Methodist Church, is currently looking into specific areas it can support the refugee community, including language classes, building employability, and finding activities for children and teenagers.

Jill Tomalin, hub volunteer and family host, said that thinking about the war and impact on refugees is “stomach churning”, adding: “People like me and others are desperate, we can’t believe what is happening.

“I sleep better at night now knowing I’ve done something small that can really help.”

She also highlighted the “wonderful” and “generous” support of the community.

“When I picked my family up from the airport, as soon as the taxi driver realised who they were they didn’t charge for fare, which was a lovely thing to do,” she said.

Jane added that when she sent out an appeal to find hosts for a 64-year-old refugee, she received 12 responses in just 10 minutes.

Talking about the hosting experience Jill said: “There were high levels of anxiety at first, you didn’t know what would happen when welcoming new people to your home, but now we’re breaking down those walls, meeting new people, and it is just so enriching.

"We’re learning from them just as much as they’re learning from us.

“No one can imagine the trauma these families are going through, it’s now up to us to help provide normality. Whether that’s helping out around the house or finding a job, it’s giving an area of control.

“This is going to go on and on and we need to remember that, it isn’t nice what these people are going through.

"We don’t treat all refugees the same and that needs to change too, it’s not good enough.”

The community hub runs every Friday in the methodist church, between 10am and 12pm.

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