Homes for Ukraine

Ron Jordan writes: We are once more in a time of waiting. Our Ukrainian guests have completed their visa applications - not wholly without difficulty, but we hope successfully. I have been contacted by the Visa Office in Croydon and submitted a copy of my passport to verify that as host I am a British citizen.

Anne and I have completed the forms and have received our Advanced DBS certificates. These sit alongside others that were necessary for our work in the Methodist Church, and for Anne her work in Brownies and for listening to children read at Blackbrook School. We have also been visited by social workers from Somerset County Council to inspect the accommodation and living arrangements. Happily, they gave us their approval.

A highlight for Anne and I was to attend a meeting of hosts organised by Taunton Welcomes Refugees. The majority already had their guests living with them and were able to offer practical advice about the priorities for the first few days and how to communicate using the wonderful app ‘Say Hi’ which simultaneously translates between English and Ukrainian using speech or text.

Let us hope that our next update gives details of travel arrangements to the UK.

Ron & Anne Jordan

Refugee Aid from Taunton (RAfT): Charity No:1180367

After a very quiet summer where our ‘in-bay’ was almost always empty and no one came (probably because of holidays and hot weather), August 16th proved to be a crazy day! Two van loads of clothing came in from Sidmouth, followed by carload after carload of donations. The warehouse was full as one of our shipments was delayed due to the driver having a family emergency, so we breathed a sigh of relief when two shipments were booked to leave for Afghanistan via Cardiff.

Many of the Ukrainian families in the area have been coming in for items of clothing and we have a stock of good school uniform in all sizes from age 3 upwards for the children (nothing with logos).

There is now a large sign identifying the building, thanks to speedy work by PJ Signs and a new A5 size ‘needs’ leaflet has been produced. If you would like to have some for people to have – or just put one up on your church notice board, do let me know. I can e mail an A4 size for you to print.

Elaine Dew

Care and Relief for Children (C.R.Y.):

Concerns over the Horn of Africa where millions face starvation because of drought. Four successive rainy seasons have failed. By taking part in the C.R.Y. Anniversary campaign, contributions will help partner agents buy food and supplies.

The recent floods in Pakistan have damaged or destroyed houses and caused loss of jobs and life. Areas where C.R.Y. operates is at risk.

Publicity for 30th Anniversary celebration event at end of September.

Further information about C.R.Y. available on website

Francis Lewis

Action for Children:

Statement on the passing of Her Majesty the Queen.

Action for Children is deeply saddened to hear of the death of Her Majesty the Queen. We are proud and privileged to have had the Queen as our patron for almost 50 years from 1967 – 2016. She had long been a patron of our charity and our children’s welfare before she took on the patronage of the then National Children’s Home.

We are so grateful to Her Majesty for her enduring and dedicated support of our work with children, young people, and families.

In a centenary message to the charity in 1969, The Queen said: ‘The record of the Home over a hundred years of unremitting service to children is remarkable... and I send you my warmest good wishes for the continued success of your work.’

We send our deepest condolences to the Royal Family and to our current patron, The Duchess of Cambridge.

Other items covered in recent newsletters:

1. In view of the current situation, Action for Children is offering tips on sharing advice with children on challenging conversations around death and grief.

2. Partnership with Turner & Townsend to help children whose parents cannot afford the cost of school uniforms. T & T Education Fund provides vital grants to cover costs of essential materials to help to provide uniform, shoes, P.E. Kit, and homework resources.

3. Review of the Blues Programme to assist young people who have depression or anxiety. This programme covers 150 schools and 5,500 young people.

4. Last year, Action for Children launched numerous petitions, had 2,553 volunteers, raised £16.2 million, and reached out to 671,275 children, young people, and families. Thank you to those who give support.

5. There is an opportunity to share views and shape the future of Action for Children.

6. Information provided on leaving a legacy in aid of Action for Children.

7. Cost of Living Crisis: despite government intervention low-income families continue to face bills far beyond what they can afford. With costs of energy, food, fuel and housing rapidly rising, much more targeted help is needed. Any help that supporters can give will go towards helping struggling families and children.

Full information on Action for Children projects etc. is available at

Francis Lewis

Somerset Community Foundation

S.C.F. has set up a Cost-of-Living Crisis Appeal to raise funds to support local people in poverty. Their website gives details of how to donate to the appeal and also how to obtain help if you are affected by the recent increases in the cost of living.

Francis Lewis

Taunton Welcomes Refugees and the Homes for Ukraine Programme

Taunton and the surrounding area has welcomed over a hundred families or groups of Ukrainians into their hearts and homes over the last six months. Hosts are continuing to welcome new arrivals and this will continue for the foreseeable future.

Taunton Welcomes Refugees is continuing to work closely with other agencies (such as Somerset County Council and Charis) to support both hosts and guests. TWR immediately appointed a paid ‘Ukraine Project Leader’ for 4 hours a week. This has enabled us to respond in the following ways:

    • offer preparation courses and information for would-be hosts

    • run a monthly support meeting for hosts

    • employ a Ukrainian English teacher to run 4 language classes a week at the Quaker Meeting House (12 students in each class)

    • offer emergency support for Ukrainians where the host-guest relationship has broken down

    • support Temple Methodist Church in setting up of 2 welcome sessions for children and parents during the summer holiday

    • offer an email signposting service for hosts and guests

Currently, the Ukrainians here are becoming increasingly concerned about what will happen when their invitations to stay in their host’s home expires over the next few months. TWR is preparing to increase the number of volunteers that we have who can support people in the transition period between leaving their hosts and finding alternative accommodation. (We still have places on our next Preparation Course 15th and 19th October).

Lynne Mayers

Charities and other Organisations Needing Your Support
or That Can Offer Support to You ...


The local pantry is an initiative partnered with FareShare Southwest providing fresh and cupboard food to families at a fraction of the normal price. Fareshare works with large organisations to help bridge the gap between food producers, supermarkets and landfill to ensure good, fresh (but surplus) food is not wasted. This food is delivered to us every week and all the food is within its 'best before' date. Our members pay £3.50 per week for food worth between £20-£25, so they save money whilst saving perfectly good food from going to landfill.

Somerset County Council and Somerset West & Taunton Council provided the funding for the essential core costs of the pantry which is now run by local volunteers under a Team Leader, to support the residents of North Taunton.

At the end of March the pantry celebrated the first year since it opened. There was also an Environmental Inspection done and we received a 5 rating. As you can imagine we were extremely pleased to be informed that we had distributed 6000kg of food, which could have ended up as waste, while also helping the 40 households we have on our books.

I wish to thank all the volunteers for the hard work they have done in the first year and continue to do. I am very grateful to all and particularly my daughter Heidi who took on the role of Deputy Team leader. There have been changes of both households and volunteers and we continue to receive requests from people wishing to join the pantry each week.

If you would like to join the scheme as a volunteer or member, please contact the team, by emailing You can also visit our Facebook page.

Gillian Flick (Team Leader)

plc is a trading company which imports a huge variety of artisan products and groceries from the developing world. All the products are Fairly-traded, the profits going straight to the producers to help them to sustain their families through employment.

Temple supports and promotes the aims of TRAIDCRAFT. It is hoped at some time in the future Temple will be able to offer a limited selection TRAIDCRAFT goods. Until then TRAIDCRAFT catalogues are available to anyone who wishes to peruse at their leisure what TRAIDCRAFT offers or you can see all available products on the TRAIDCRAFT Website -

Safe Families are looking for volunteers in Somerset who might be able to support a family virtually through telephone or video calls. Certain people may also be free to pick up shopping, but staying in contact through this period of isolation is a priority need. There is a checking process, training and oversight for any volunteers. (Don't be put off by this - it probably just means joining a short virtual training session.)

If anyone feels they are in a position to help in this way, you are able to sign up on the volunteer website page.

You can find out more about the work of the charity from the website, and - whether you are able to volunteer practically or not - we are encouraged to pray for their work.

The latest update is that they are doing ok for volunteers and the Council has given them delivery vans and drivers. However, they would welcome additional supplies. Please find details on Taunton Foodbank website of their updated list of items to shop for and also how to donate if you are unable to go out shopping.

As up to date as possible, the printable A-Z Food Suppliers Directory can be found here: Coronavirus Community Help Taunton

For details about Christian Aid and the work they do see

In the world’s poorest communities people are having to face coronavirus without access to running water and soap. Living in cramped and unhygienic conditions, social distancing simply isn’t possible. All We Can and the Methodist Church in Britain have launched an Emergency Coronavirus Appeal to help equip vulnerable communities across the globe to combat coronavirus.

YOUR NEIGHBOUR, aims to support the work that churches are doing to be good neighbours in communities across the UK during the coronavirus crisis. They will support vulnerable, people working as a coordinated national response, partnering with the UK government and other agencies.

MHA are looking to recruit volunteers across the country to help them through the coronavirus crisis and support their clients. The roles are flexible and will be allocated dependent upon the needs of services in your local area. You can find details of the roles here.

Action for Children is helping to provide essentials to the most vulnerable families they support across the UK and those potentially affected in the future. You can read more here.

Taunton Welcomes Refugees:
As more refugees and asylum seekers are resettled in Somerset and we have been asked by the council to be ready to help support them.

also see ...

Coronovirus (COVID-19) and Other Websites webpages