Philanthropist Steve Morgan has backed a joint initiative to fly 10,000 Ukrainian refugees to the UK free-of-charge.
The Steve Morgan Foundation has partnered with the airline Wizz Air and three other not-for-profit organisations – Choose Love, The Shapiro Foundation and the Ukraine Sponsorship Pathway UK (USPUK) – to provide free travel to up to 10,000 Ukrainian refugees during this time of crisis.
Refugees will be able to travel free of charge from Ukraine’s neighbouring countries of Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia to the UK, in support of the UK Government ‘Homes for Ukraine’ visa scheme.
The joint initiative runs from 14 May to 15 June 2022 and to mark the launch representatives of the partnership will be at London Luton Airport this Saturday to welcome Ukrainian refugees arriving on Wizz Air flights from Krakow and Warsaw in Poland and connect them with their UK sponsors.
Mr Morgan said he was ‘delighted’ to be playing a key part in the initiative.
“It’s fantastic that we’re able to play a key role in helping 10,000 Ukrainians left devastated by the war. Working with our excellent partners this is a great example of how we can make a difference.”
In March the Steve Morgan Foundation offered to meet the cost of bringing up to 1,000 Ukrainians to the UK as the extent of the unfolding humanitarian crisis in the war-torn country began to emerge.
Mr Morgan said the ‘logistical challenges’ of the task meant that it has been necessary to redirect their efforts into targeted approaches like the free flight initiative.
He explained, “We’ve had a lot of discussions behind the scenes but logistically our initial ideas were proving extremely difficult and the Ukrainian people need help immediately.
“By partnering with Wizz Air, Choose Love, The Shapiro Foundation and USPUK we’re able to offer immediate help on the ground.
“Moving forward we’ll continue to take a much more targeted approach to help the Ukrainian people.”
Refugees Minister, Lord Harrington said: “Bringing as many Ukrainians as possible to safety remains our number one priority and I am delighted to see this support from Wizz Air for our Homes for Ukraine scheme.
“I have been continually amazed by the huge amount of work happening on the ground and am grateful for both the generosity of the public and the ongoing efforts of foundations like the Shapiro Foundation, Choose Love and the Steve Morgan Foundation in providing Ukrainians with a safe and welcoming journey to the UK.
“This scheme must be a team effort and I encourage other businesses to step forward and partner with the third sector where they can.”
Hungarian airline Wizz Air operate a fleet of 149 Airbus A320 and A321 aircraft.
Ukrainian refugees wishing to book a free ticket can do so by visiting: https://wizzair.com/#/rescue
Passengers will be required to input their Ukrainian passport number (foreign passport used for travel abroad) at the time of booking in order to qualify for the free tickets, and they will also be asked to show their Ukrainian passport and required visa/travel documents at the time of check-in.
As it stands, more than 13 million Ukrainian people are estimated to have been displaced from their homes since the conflict began, of which 4.8 million are children. Many people have had to leave everything.
Latest figures show the UK Government has issued over 95,000 visas to Ukrainians under its Homes for Ukraine visa scheme. Over 37,000 have already arrived in the UK.
Images courtesy of Steve Morgan Foundation