Nine months since the start of the Homes for Ukraine scheme, the people of Surrey Heath have generously welcomed 174 Ukrainian refugees to the Borough.
But more sponsors are still needed –and SHBC is now pleased to be able to offer sponsors an extra £250 per month on top of the existing £350 thank you payment. This additional payment is being financed from central government funding received by Surrey County Council for the Ukraine scheme.
Since March, the Council’s Homes for Ukraine Team has supported dozens of sponsors and refugees with the matching process, and helped to secure more than 40 places for young people in various education settings.
From our Ukrainian guests, 23 refugees have secured permanent work, while many others are working towards achieving UK certification of existing qualifications.
The service has also assisted 14 Ukrainian households to move into homes of their own.
With the support of funding from central government, the Council has been working hard to support people fleeing the war in Ukraine, providing comprehensive, person-centred support to both the Ukrainian families seeking refuge in our borough, and the many kind sponsors opening their homes to strangers in need of a safe place to live.
If you are interested in supporting the scheme by hosting a Ukrainian guest, it’s not too late! The scheme is still in need of sponsors to welcome Ukrainian guests into their homes.
The Council supports sponsors and guests with a dedicated family support co-ordinator, who continues to work with those involved throughout their sponsorship arrangement as the guests settle into life in the UK. The wide range of support offered includes carrying out safeguarding duties, helping Ukrainian parents to secure school places for their children, running social hubs where sponsors and guests can meet others in the same circumstances, holding conversational English classes, and helping guests to secure work and move into more permanent private accommodation.
In the wider community, our Homes for Ukraine team liaises with a range of organisations to deliver enhanced support that meets our families’ needs. This includes local Job Centre staff to support guests’ job searches, local churches, community groups, charities and volunteers.
Current plans for upcoming events also include a fun, festive Christmas party for sponsors and guests to enjoy, with a visit from Santa himself!
Surrey Heath Portfolio Holder for Housing, Safeguarding and Support Cllr Sarah-Jane Croke said: “We’re proud of our work so far to support our Ukrainian guests in Surrey Heath, and I want to say a HUGE thank you to everyone who has been involved, from sponsors to community groups and everyone in between!
“Our Ukrainian guests have been welcomed into our homes and our hearts, and our team at the Council have done, and continue to do, an amazing job in supporting them into work and education, helping them to settle in and learn English.
“Our sponsors are well-supported too -if you are thinking of becoming a sponsor, I would urge you to register your interest and take the next step towards offering a home to someone fleeing this terrible war. Our increased ‘thank you payments’ of £600 per month to sponsors recognise the extra pressure the cost of living increases may be causing.
“We obviously hope that in the longer term our Ukrainian guests will be able to return to the homeland they miss so much, but until then we are proud to welcome them to our generous Surrey Heath community.”
To find out more about the Homes for Ukraine scheme and how you could help, email email@example.com or call 01276 707100 and ask for the Homes for Ukraine scheme team.