Westmeath County Council established the Community Response Forum to bring services and agencies together to respond to the crisis in a co-ordinated fashion with membership of the forum includes all the relevant service providers in the county, representatives of voluntary groups and a member of the Ukrainian community.
To date, the forum has met on a weekly basis and has worked collaboratively to assist the Ukrainian community with obtaining primary and secondary school places, transport, health services, English language classes, CV preparation skills and numerous other areas of need.
Several events have been organised to encourage integration and participation such as National Play Day in Athlone Regional Sports Centre and the One Million Stars event in Belvedere House.
There are over 700 Ukrainian Refugees accommodated in County Westmeath at present, with the majority located between Athlone, Mullingar and Castlepollard. It is anticipated that at least a further 200 Ukrainians will arrive in the county in the next two months. The Council is continuously working to identify possible additional medium to large scale accommodation to accommodate further arrivals.
Details of 62 pledged accommodations were provided to Westmeath County Council. Upon initial assessment, 19 of these were viable accommodation and three have been allocated. Remaining viable units are primarily in rural locations, where residents would require their own transport. Westmeath County Council has arranged accommodation in pledged properties for nine people.
Westmeath County Council continues to be committed to working in collaboration with our partners to address the issues arising with accommodation and assistance of the Ukrainian refugees living in our communities.