UK charities work together to support Ukrainian's with learning disabilities

24 Mar 2022 News

Four charities have joined forces to fundraise for Ukrainians with learning disabilities amid Russia’s invasion. 

Mencap, ENABLE Scotland, The Richmond Fellowship Scotland and Learning Disability England have created a coalition and responded to a fundraising campaign led by Inclusion Europe that aims to help those with learning disabilities during the conflict. 

The campaign highlights how people with intellectual disabilities and their families may not be able to leave the war zone. So far, the coalition has raised over £60,000 in its first week. 

Inclusion Europe estimates that “there are immediate and urgent requirements to support 261,000 Ukrainian citizens who have a learning disability.” Some 30,000 are in residential care homes, and 80,000 are children.

The money raised will go directly to the Ukraine VGO Coalition. Funds will be used to buy food, water, medicines, hygiene products and personal assistance for Ukrainians with learning disabilities. 

'Trapped in a warzone'

Theresa Shearer, who is CEO of ENABLE Group and vice president of Inclusion Europe, has coordinated the fundraising appeal across the UK. 

She said: “Over 260,000 people who have a learning disability in Ukraine are trapped in a war zone; on behalf of those families, Inclusion Europe thanks all of those organisations for their solidarity, and their generosity. We continue to work through Inclusion Europe’s NGO members in Ukraine to ensure that this funding directly supports those families. 

“We, as a learning disability community, are ready to support UK and Scottish Governments to ensure that any individuals or families who seek refuge in the UK are matched with families who understand learning disability.”

Inclusion Europe members are calling for people with learning disabilities in Ukraine to receive civil protection information in accessible formats so they can understand the measures they have to take in dangerous situations. As well as this, they are calling for the monitoring of people with learning disabilities in care institutions to ensure they are not abandoned or harmed. 

Wendy Burt, co-chair of Learning Disability England, said: “Charities coming together across the UK to unite to address this humanitarian crisis ensures that the emergency plans and crisis response considers all citizens including disabled people and their families. It is a powerful message to our friends in Ukraine that they are not forgotten and we all need to do what we can to help.”


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