Thank you to those residents in the Royal Borough who have kindly completed the visa process to offer safe accommodation to Ukrainian individuals and families seeking safe refuge in the UK under the Government’s ‘Homes for Ukraine’ scheme.
So far, there are 78 confirmed sponsors who between them will be hosting 173 guests in their spare rooms and empty self-contained units for at least six months, each playing a crucial part in helping people left in desperate need as a result of war.
Councillor Andrew Johnson, the council leader, said: “The sterling way the community has responded so swiftly and compassionately to the humanitarian situation is a great source of pride. No one can fail to be shocked and appalled by the images coming out of Ukraine, of families and communities tragically pulled apart by war, lives and livelihoods brutally disrupted, and horrific scenes of death and destruction.
“Thank you to everyone supporting the critical relief efforts locally and especially those welcoming Ukrainians under the national Homes for Ukraine scheme. While guidance has flowed from Government over recent weeks, council officers have been working proactively with local and national partners to ensure comprehensive support is in place for residents offering housing and the Ukrainians themselves.
“Information has already been provided to schools and health services on the processes for registering new arrivals, we’re developing a welcome pack which will be translated into Ukrainian and we’re liaising with community and voluntary groups around the excellent further support they can offer.”
Last month, the council launched a dedicated Ukraine support webpage and telephone support line to help those participating in Homes for Ukraine, which will be updated as further information is received. Please visit www.rbwm.gov.uk/ukraine-support or call 0203 514 8117 during opening hours.
Councillor Johnson added: “We are emailing and texting all our confirmed sponsors with information about the accommodation inspections and the safeguarding and needs checks we’re required to complete as a council, to help ensure all goes smoothly with your new guests.
“We’ll complete all checks as soon as possible, prioritising households hosting children and/or adults who are vulnerable due to illness, disability or age. Please note that unfortunately completion of inspections and safeguarding checks will not speed up the visa process if you are still waiting for approval. Again, a huge thank you to all local sponsors.
“For those who aren’t able to offer accommodation but would like to help support our committed local sponsors and the Ukrainians they’re welcoming, I’m pleased to announce we’ve set up a secure donations portal which together with the support funding we’re getting from Government will help to specifically meet local needs. Please visit our support webpage to give either £3, £5 or £10.” www.rbwm.gov.uk/ukraine-support
• The Ukraine telephone support line is 0203 514 8117. Local residents can call for advice 9am to 5pm Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and 10am to 5pm Wednesday. Ukrainians can call for advice 10am to 5.30pm Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm Saturday and 11am to 2pm Sunday.
• If you know a refugee individual or family you wish to sponsor, and are able to provide suitable accommodation for at least six months, whether that be a spare room in your own home or an unoccupied self-contained residential unit, please visit https://homesforukraine.campaign.gov.uk for more information and to apply.
• To help with the national humanitarian efforts in Ukraine, people can still give to the appeals by the Disasters Emergency Committee, British Red Cross and International Rescue Committee.