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Support extended for Ukrainian refugees in Exeter

Published: 11 November 2022

Cllr Martin Pearce at the Conversation Cafe

Ukrainian refugees will continue to have access to a wide range of help and advice after the City Council announced it is continuing to fund support services in Exeter.

Two Ukrainian-speaking community connectors are being funded through Wellbeing Exeter to ensure guests in the city have full access to a range of services like skills and training, employment, benefits advice, housing and other support.

The Council will also continue to support the Conversation Café in Paris Street, which has been run by the Devon Ukrainian Association since March.

Around 200 Ukrainians have settled in Exeter with host families under the Government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme, launched earlier this year following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Many have been helped into full time employment through a variety of support agencies in Exeter, including Exeter Works and Citizens Advice Exeter.

Cllr Martin Pearce, Lead Councillor for Communities and Homeless Prevention, welcomed the city’s response to the crisis and praised all the organisations supporting Ukrainians in Exeter.

He said: “I’m really pleased to say that the City Council is extending its partnership agreement with the Devon Ukrainian Association. The support hub in Paris Street was set up very quickly after the invasion of Ukraine and has helped and supported large numbers of refugees from across Devon since then.

“The list of services that can be accessed from here is absolutely amazing. The partnership between Exeter City Council and Wellbeing Exeter means there are two full time members of staff who offer dedicated support two days a week from the Conversation Café.

“They can offer advice on things like integration, access to jobs and skills, advice on benefits, accommodation, and other essential support and advice which is a real lifeline.

“Other organisations like Citizens Advice and also providing a valuable free service, and I am so proud of the way in which Exeter has opened its arms and everyone is doing everything they can to make people feel welcome here.”

Olya Petrakova, who founded the Conversation Cafe, said: “From the beginning Exeter City Council offered partnership and we have been in constant conversation.

“We got funding for initial refugee support services and for social and cultural events, and we are now expanding further to provide more educational and business development opportunities for refugees.

“So it has been a really organic and committed relationship right from the start.”

Viktoriia Novak, a community connector for Wellbeing Exeter, said: “We are supporting Ukrainian refugees arriving in Exeter. We can help with a wide range of local opportunities, and basically everything like jobs, filling in forms and helping with their daily lives, and sometimes our main role is to listen.   

“As a Ukrainian I know how difficult it is to integrate yourself into a society with a culture that is very different to your own. I hope that people are feeling at home here. By helping each individual we are in some ways helping society as a whole, which is great.” 

  • More families are still required to offer accommodation under the Homes for Ukraine scheme. More details are available on the Government’s website. Alternatively get in touch with the City Council directly for further information or advice on the options and support that is available, by emailing



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