People invited to online webinar to hear latest on Ukraine support in Wiltshire

Wiltshire Council is holding a public webinar to provide an update on Ukraine refugees coming to settle in Wiltshire.

Published 5 May 2022
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Wiltshire Council is holding a public webinar to provide an update on Ukraine refugees coming to settle in Wiltshire.

The online event will be at 6:30pm on Monday 16 May and will be an opportunity for people to find out more information and ask questions on the support available in the county.

There will be updates on the council work to support refugees including accommodation checks and payments for sponsors through the Homes for Ukraine scheme and help with school places. There will also be discussion of community support and how people can be involved and time for questions and answers.

People can join the webinar by using this link https://bit.ly/3kBbOsc on the day.

People can also submit questions for the webinar in advance by emailing communications@wiltshire.gov.uk.

Currently Ukrainian refugees can enter the country in two ways - as part of the Homes for Ukraine scheme or through the Ukraine Family Scheme.

For the Homes for Ukraine scheme the government makes local authorities aware of the numbers coming through so they can carry out checks and provide access to benefits. The government supplies funding including the one-off £200 emergency fund per guest and the £350 monthly payment for sponsors. The council also receives £10,500 per individual to provide wraparound support.

However, under the family scheme councils receive no notification and there is currently no financial support. Although there is no additional government funding for these families, knowing where they are based will help map out where additional support to wider services may be needed. This could be for school places or to work with partners where services may be required. Therefore, Wiltshire Council is asking people or communities who are welcoming Ukrainian refugees under the family scheme to email refugees@wiltshire.gov.uk.

Approximately 2,800 households have registered for the Homes for Ukraine scheme and currently 375 homes have been matched with 1,034 individuals.

Latest figures show there has been 102 school applications, 67 primary and 35 secondary, with many joining classes since the new term has begun.

Sponsors providing homes for refugees are being advised they don't need to contact the council when a match has been made as the government provides the information so DBS and accommodation checks can be carried out. However, once the guests have arrived the council is asking for sponsors to email refugees@wiltshire.gov.uk so support can begin straightaway.

The government is separately issuing the visas for Ukrainian refugees. The checks, which local authorities have been asked to carry out, can wait until the guest has arrived as the Home Office will undertake their own checks prior to the guests' arrival to speed up the process. Wiltshire Council will continue to carry out the required checks and the team will be in touch with sponsors to arrange them, but these should not delay the issue of the guests' visas.

Cllr Richard Clewer, Leader of Wiltshire Council said: A number of refugees have started to arrive and this means there is a great deal of work going on to help support them. This includes community hubs being set up and local people stepping up and doing what they can, which is heartening to see.

We've expanded our own teams to ensure we carry out the checks needed and also provide the ongoing support. There is a lot of work going on behind the scenes. This public webinar is an opportunity to share the current situation and for people to ask questions and I hope many people can join us.

Also we would actively encourage people who are coming through the Ukraine Family Scheme to get in touch. Although this is not part of the government scheme so there is no financial support available, we know there will be a need for support for school places and links with other services including health so it's important we know about them too.

There is information available on the council website  at the Support for Ukraine - Wiltshire Council link which includes a welcome pack for refugees, and a general information on providing support and key links.

The government has also produced a pack for sponsors.

The government's Homes for Ukraine scheme offers a route to those who want to come to the UK and who have someone willing to provide them with a home. Individuals, charities, community groups and businesses can volunteer accommodation. People interested can record their interest at www.gov.uk/homes-for-ukraine to receive updates and more information on how to apply.

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Published 5 May 2022