Comprehensive, long-term activities in four key areas - these are the main assumptions behind the support programme addressed to Ukrainian refugees, which will be implemented in Szczecin.
“We are all following the events taking place behind our eastern border with great concern, and express our full solidarity with Ukraine and its residents,” said Piotr Krzystek, Mayor of Szczecin. “Of course, we cannot, and we will not, stay indifferent to their fate, which can be seen in the warehouses run by aid organisations which are filling with gifts, in accommodation offers from individuals, and all small and grand gestures of assistance and support which are being sent to Ukrainians by Poles, including residents of Szczecin. Such open hearts give us strength. As local governments, as cities, we need to adopt a broader perspective, and start planning long-term actions and system-based solutions which we will be able to apply in the months or even years to come, and which will fully cover the largest possible number of those in need. To this end, we have developed the “Szczecin for Ukraine” Support Programme.
The objective of the “Szczecin for Ukraine” Programme is to implement solutions which will meet the needs of persons affected by war in the sphere of security, protection and care, as well as good conditions for living and personal development. There is also space for the support of immediate aid organised by the residents of Szczecin in relation to the military operations in the territory of Ukraine.
The programme outlines four essentials spheres of local government activity – ASSISTANCE, HOUSING, EDUCATION, and EMPLOYMENT, as part of which measures will be taken with a view to meeting the defined objectives. The activities will be conducted in collaboration with partners, i.e., non-governmental organisations, business support institutions, universities and state administration bodies.
The provision of livelihood safety to persons affected by the armed conflict in Ukraine
In the building at 4 Marii Skłodowskiej-Curie St., the “Szczecin for Ukraine” Support Centre is being established, and will bring together a wide range of informational and advisory measures in the sphere of, for instance, social services, refugee procedures, job market arrangements, welfare, education, administrative matters, healthcare, as well as psychological and legal support. In addition, a children’s club will be opened on site to provide child care services. The institution is being established and will operate in cooperation with non-governmental organisations.
Several dozen temporary care places for young children will be made available in municipal nurseries. Based on a network of daytime support establishments, schoolchildren will be offered care and psychological support, and the elderly and persons with disabilities will also be given assistance. The city is also planning integration and anti-discrimination measures, as well as further volunteer work and NGO support.
Refugees will receive medical assistance and access to primary care physicians and specialist clinics via the Szczecin Independent Non-Public Healthcare Centre (Szczecińskie Centrum Zdrowia Samodzielny Publiczny Zakład Opieki Zdrowotnej).
The securing of basic housing needs of persons affected by the armed conflict in Ukraine
It involves the safeguarding of accommodation resources to meet the basic housing needs for temporary stay purposes, and the introduction of changes to local laws, namely a resolution on the possibility to settle in the area of the Szczecin Municipality for Ukrainian families coming to Poland from war-stricken areas, through the provision of good housing conditions and support in the sphere of using municipal housing units. The city is also planning to support grass-roots initiatives of individuals and institutions wishing to provide accommodation to those in need.
Incorporation of children and young people into the Polish education system and the development of the migrants’ linguistic and cultural competences
Extending educational services to persons outside the Polish education system, facilitating the continued education in Szczecin-based educational establishments to schoolchildren from Ukraine, providing Polish language courses for children and adults, including
- the establishment of preparatory classes (for children who do not speak Polish) with the participation of a bilingual multicultural assistant who would support Polish teachers specialising in specific subjects;
- the provision of places in primary schools;
- the provision of places in secondary schools;
- the provision of places in pre-schools as part of the existing groups;
- the provision of new pre-school groups in primary schools,
- the organisation of Polish language courses for students of primary and secondary schools, and the support for organising language courses for adults;
- cooperation with higher-education institutions as part of the Academic Szczecin project, in respect of amenities for Ukrainian university students.
Creating the foundations of economic independence of refugees settling in Szczecin
Connecting the needs of employers and job seekers as part of job fairs, facilitating the change of qualifications and the acquisition of new qualifications and skills in demand on the job market, long-term cooperation with companies and business organisations. Refugees will get a chance to benefit from support in the procedure for the legalisation of their stay and employment, and procedures for the recognition of their degrees and licences. The city is also planning measures in the sphere of promoting professional activity, and in relation to changing or increasing professional qualifications.
The Heads of all clubs in the Szczecin City Council have expressed their support for the Programme. The Chair of the City Council, Renata Łażewska has announced that an extraordinary session will be held on 9 March, when the councillors will vote on, i.a., a resolution condemning Russia's attack against Ukraine, and on granting the entitlement to free public transport services to Ukrainian refugees.