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Harrods and Mulberry to join Ukraine refugee scheme

Jeremy Lim
23 May 2022

Luxury department store Harrods and accessories brand Mulberry are to join the UK Ukraine Business Consortium Network, a scheme to provide long-term support for refugees, both from the ongoing war in Ukraine and other international crises.

Shortly after the outbreak of war, 45 UK businesses, including retailers Marks & Spencer and ASOS, formed a UK-based consortium pledging their support to incoming refugees.

The consortium supports refugees with jobs, provides essential supplies such as sim cards for mobile phones and facilitates one-on-one mentoring relationships. The companies involved will each sponsor a set number of refugees through Refuaid’s education and employment programme.

Harrods is part of the consortium, but is not yet sponsoring the project with Refuaid.

Mulberry is set to join members of the consortium scaling up their support for Refuaid, following a successful pilot scheme involving mail company FDM, recruitment company Page Group, financial services provider PwC and private dental practice Portman Dental Group.

Refuaid CEO Anna Jones was particularly excited to have Mulberry on board after a fashion designer fleeing Ukraine contacted the charity for support. She says the brand is sponsoring four refugees from Ukraine as well as helping a group of tailors from Afghanistan retrain as handbag artisans and opening up vacancies across its manufacturing operation and head office.

Support from businesses has been overwhelming, helping to plug an urgent gap in UK government support, according to coordinator Emma Sinclair, who is also co-founder and CEO of recruitment software Enterprise Alumni, and an advisor to G7 and Unicef. Her father’s family fled to the UK from Ukraine years ago to avoid persecution. “I hope that, through this consortium, we are seeing the beginning of a much needed blueprint for how to help refugees arriving on our shores.”

Thierry Andretta, Mulberry's CEO said: "Our professional lives and achievements are a huge part of how we define ourselves as individuals, so the ability to continue with our chosen career can’t be underestimated.

"Intensive language courses, access to a professional network and advice as well as support and funding to re-certify professional qualifications are all necessary steps to the end goal of meaningful employment."

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