A WILTSHIRE charity which helps vulnerable children in Ukraine received £500,000 from Swindon-based insurance giant Zurich.

Before the war began, there were 100,000 children living in orphanages across Ukraine. Nine out of 10 of them were not orphans - they were placed in institutions because of a lack of infrastructure to support them to live in family homes. 

Some of these orphanages have been hit by missiles and shells, and now UNICEF estimates that two million children have now been forced to flee the country, including those separated from their families in the chaos. 

Hope & Homes for Children is working to support children impacted by the crisis and ultimately close Ukraine’s orphanages. By diverting this funding, it will enable children to either live at home with their families or in suitable foster care. The charity has been working to support these orphanages for nearly 25 years.

Zurich's donation will helpe them provide emergency support like food, blankets and protection for 3,000 children and parents.

The money will support the emergency response like the humanitarian effort by UNICEF to support unaccompanied children and refugees on the move across Europe.

And it will support global advocacy work and help the Salisbury-based charity continue its work providing emergency interventions for children and families at risk of separation.

Hope & Homes for Children CEO Mark Waddington said: “The company’s incredible generosity in supporting our work is truly inspiring.

"This support will enable us to begin rebuilding the child protection and care infrastructure in Ukraine. It will also help to develop services that help the most vulnerable families to protect and care for their children, whilst also providing emergency support.”

Zurich UK CEO Tim Bailey added: “We're proud to be able to support Hope and Homes for Children’s vital work in Ukraine, Romania and Moldova as part of Zurich’s overall global effort to help those affected by the war.

“As well as providing emergency aid, Zurich’s support will help keep the 100,000 children who were in Ukraine’s orphanages at the beginning of the war safe while ensuring that the long-term recovery effort puts systems in place for these children to grow up in safe homes.” 

Zurich Foundation chair Gary Shaughnessy said: “We are honoured to be able to support families and children as they face the perils of this conflict.  We hope other organisations can come together and help wherever they can.”