A humanitarian hub has been set up at London Luton Airport in the UK to provide practical support for air passengers arriving from Ukraine.
At the hub, the arrivals are given a range of contact numbers for local and national agencies. Alongside this, refreshments are provided while advisors give guidance for onward travel within the UK. The Ukrainian flag is on display in the hub’s reception area, along with artwork designed by Luton’s Surrey Street Primary, Cardinal Newman Catholic and Queen Elizabeth schools.
Arrivals are greeted by volunteers from the Bedfordshire and Luton Emergency Volunteers Executive Committee, the British Red Cross and the Airport Chaplaincy. Paramedics from the Hearts First Ambulance Service provide mental and physical health support information.
The hub has been organized by statutory body Bedfordshire’s Local Resilience Forum, which brings together partners such as local authorities, NHS clinical commissioning groups, emergency services, the charity and voluntary sector and the airport. It is intended to provide a warm welcome to those uprooted from their homeland.
Amanda Carcary, senior emergency response officer for the British Red Cross in Bedfordshire, said, “Kindness is so vital when people arrive in the UK after an experience like this, which is why our teams are trained to give emotional support as well as help people with practical things. We know that people are leaving family behind in Ukraine and enduring long, cold journeys to get to safety, so we are here to offer them a warm welcome. We have Ukrainian-language welcome packs with key information about life in the UK.”
Councilor Aslam Khan, deputy leader of Luton Council, said, “In a short space of time, many different organizations have come together and been working around the clock to provide a warm welcome and practical support to those whose lives have been violently disrupted by the Russian invasion of their country. As it did when establishing a testing site during the Covid pandemic, London Luton Airport has underlined its role as our community airport by hosting this vital point of refuge.”
Alberto Martin, CEO of London Luton Airport, said, “As an international airport, we help to connect cultures, places and people, so it has been heartbreaking to witness events unfold in Ukraine. We are proud of the support we provide to our communities and are glad we can play a small part in ensuring a warm welcome to Ukrainian families as they arrive in the UK.”