WELL over 300 Ukrainian refugees have been offered sanctuary in York since Russian's invasion of the country almost a year ago - and the number is still rising.

Charity York City of Sanctuary, which has been working for the past year to arrange places in York for Ukrainian refugees under the the Homes for Ukraine scheme, said the response from the city's people to the crisis has been 'incredible'.

The charity's Rebecca Russell said that so far, some 325 Ukrainians had already been welcomed to York, with more visas pending.

"As a city, we have worked together to provide a support network," Rebecca said. "We have shown how the different organisations and local authority can pull together in a crisis. People have opened their homes to those fleeing the war and continue to do so."

But with the war ongoing, more refugees asking to come to the city, and the arrangements with some host sponsors coming to an end, there was a real need for more sponsors willing to host refugees, Rebecca said.

The Government recently raised the monthly allowance to £500 for anyone hosting a refugee who has been on the Homes for Ukraine scheme for a year.

"We're hoping this increase will help people to think about hosting and bring more sponsors forward," Rebecca said.

Meanwhile, York Minster will be marking the first anniversary of th Russian invasion of Ukraine on Friday - February 24 - with a special vigil in the cathedral's nave.

The vigil, which will start at 12 noon and is open to all, will include readings, prayers, music and reflections from the Ukrainian Community in York.

To find out more about becoming a sponsor under the Homes for Ukraine scheme, visit york.cityofsanctuary.org/ukraine