Big-hearted residents of Essex have been thanked for their "outstanding generosity" which has seen more than 1,400 Ukrainian refugees welcomed to the county.
Since the conflict began, 1,081 sponsors in the county have opened their homes to 1,408 refugees an offered accommodation to another 1,063. Nationally, the government says its Homes for Ukraine scheme has found places for over 100,000 people.
Brightlingsea county councillor Alan Goggin has helped to sort out problems for two Ukranian families housed in Brightlingsea and says he has had "great help" from Brightlingsea Food Bank, churches and other groups.
"It's easy to look at the numbers but each one is a parent, or child of someone desperate for support – often with other members of their family stuck in a war zone," said Cllr Goggin. "As a country we are fortunate to have some individuals who are community minded enough to be able to help. Not everybody can offer a home but there are many other ways to help. A simple smile and a coffee sometimes works wonders."
County council leader Kevin Bentley added: "Since the start of this dreadful war, residents of Essex have gone above and beyond to provide support for our Ukrainian friends, first in contributing to the humanitarian aid efforts and more recently by opening up their own homes to welcome people from Ukraine with open arms. I want to thank the people of our county for their astounding generosity. They have responded to what is a humanitarian crisis on a scale that many of us have not seen before in our lives with our county’s trademark hospitality and kindness."