THANK you to the Hampshire Chronicle for adopting such a supportive approach in respect of the current Ukraine crisis, with over £25,000 raised and a weekly focus on relevant local stories about the crisis’ impact.

The events in Ukraine make us all appreciate our lives here that little bit more. It is of course good that the Chronicle still focuses on local news issues too – the freedom we have to engage with, challenge and debate all of Winchester’s key local issues is a freedom that would be denied by a despot like Putin.

It was striking timing that Winchester City Council voted - unanimously – to take steps to become a City of Sanctuary for refugees just several weeks before the Ukraine crisis began.

It is very uplifting that Winchester was identified as one of the top five areas in the UK of people applying to be hosts in the Homes for Ukraine scheme.

It’s not a secret that there has been a lot of frustration with the Government’s speed of processing matching and visas under the scheme. Indeed, with delays in formal matching process being run by overwhelmed small charities, many hosts in Winchester took matters into their own hands and matched up with Ukrainian people directly – some of whom have started arriving. Winchester City Council and Hampshire County Council are working collaboratively to support Winchester’s hosts and are also helping coordinate services and support to the individuals and families who have fled their homes in Ukraine.

I am privileged to be in touch with many of Winchester’s hosts and seeing their willingness to – without fanfare or question - open up their homes, their lives and offer all the help they can to people they have never met has been perhaps the highlight of my first year as a Councillor.

Winchester’s response to the Homes for Ukraine scheme has been incredible and shows that, as a City, one of the ways we can define ourselves in the future is by being a true sanctuary for those in the world who need it.

Cllr John Tippett-Cooper,

Councillor for St Bartholomew Ward,

Winchester City Council


Message from the editor Kimberley Barber

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