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Ukrainian Refugees

Volume 716: debated on Thursday 23 June 2022

Four bishops and hundreds of clergy currently have Ukrainian evacuees living with them. The Church is also using vacant vicarages for Ukrainian families. The Church continues to encourage its members to open their homes and to support those who have.

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for his answer. Certainly, I have seen lots of activities in churches in my own constituency. We have a lot of mums with children arriving in the United Kingdom and in South Northamptonshire. Lots of them either want to work or are working, but with the summer holidays fast approaching there will be the need for childcare. Can my hon. Friend give us an idea of what the Church can do to provide summer playgroups, so that Ukrainian children can keep learning English and making new friends?

I am very grateful to my right hon. Friend, who is typically too modest to mention that she is herself host to a Ukrainian family. I thank her, on behalf of the Church of England, for what she is doing.

The point my right hon. Friend makes about summer holiday clubs for children is extremely important. I can tell her that most parishes are now operating such clubs, although we are not quite back to where we were before the pandemic, due to a shortage of volunteers. I will ask the Diocese of Peterborough to let her know the details of all our clubs operating in her area.

May I take this opportunity to pay tribute to June Partington and others at the parish of Christ Church and St George’s in Denton? June and the parish have organised, on behalf of churches across Tameside in Greater Manchester, the Homes for Ukraine scheme. Is that not precisely what the Church of England, having parishes in every community, is about?

The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right: the strength of the Church is in its parish life. I am very happy to pay considerable tribute, and give thanks, to June and all the parishes in Tameside who are clearly doing such good and important work.