A welcome point at London Luton Airport (LLA) has supported almost 30,000 Ukrainian arrivals and assisted 500 UK Homes for Ukraine sponsors since being established in March 2022.
The welcome point at LLA has provided a range of support and services to Ukrainian arrivals including the provision of food and drink, overnight accommodation and SIM cards, onward travel assistance, mental and physical health support information, liaison with Homes for Ukraine sponsors and advice on travel documentation.
Today, the national moment of silence, marking the one-year anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, was observed by airport staff and passengers to pay tribute to the courage and resilience of the Ukrainian people and show solidarity with Ukrainians that have relocated to the UK since the invasion began.
Alberto Martin, CEO of LLA, commented: “The national moment of silence provided the staff and passengers of London Luton Airport with an opportunity to come together to mark our respect to the people of Ukraine, including the many thousands who have arrived in the UK via our airport.
“This was an important moment for the airport, as a hub of the local community, to remember those who have been affected in so many ways over the past 12 months.”
Bedfordshire and Luton Emergency Volunteers Executive Committee (BLEVEC) initially staffed the welcome point, supported by the airport chaplaincy.
BLEVEC members devoted over 3,000 volunteer hours to staffing the welcome point, before local authority staff were deployed in April 2022.
Councillor Aslam Khan, Deputy Leader, Luton Council, said: “It is now a year since the world was shocked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“I am proud to say that since that moment Luton and the surrounding area has stepped up to the plate at a moment of unrelenting violence and deep tragedy.
“In a short space of time many different organisations came together to set up the Welcome Hub at London Luton Airport which has provided a warm greeting and practical support to those fleeing the violence.
“The people of Luton have a long history of compassionate support for those finding their way to our town and we will continue to do all we can to care for those in dire need.”