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Useful information for Ukrainian refugees

Introduction

Exeter City Council is playing an active role in the Homes for Ukraine Scheme, for both hosts and guests.

We are adding useful information and links to informative websites that will hopefully assist with any general enquires in relation to the scheme.

If you do require any further information or advice please email in the first instance to Ukraine@exeter.gov.uk

Please see the Devon County Council website for all the important information that hosts and guests will need.


 

Host

If you are interested in supporting a family from the Ukraine you will first be required to register onto the Government Homes for Ukraine web site to register your details. This site will go over the process and details required. Once registered there are number of national charities that help with the matching process:

  • Refugees at Home, a charity connecting refugees and hosts online
  • Room for Refugees, which has previously settled unaccompanied child refugees with families in the UK

Once a host has registered their details and agreed a Ukraine guest they will be added to a main data base. This data is gathered by Devon County Council in the first instance, who will then pass this to the local authority where the host and guest will be based.


 

Checks

Devon County Council

Devon County Council are responsible for completing the Disclosure and Barring Service checks (DBS). This is carried out on each member of the host family who are over 16 years old.

Exeter City Council

Exeter City Council is responsible for completing a property check on the host’s property where the guest will be residing. This checks will be to ensure the accommodation meets the basic minimum criteria.

An officer from the Exeter City Council will make direct contact with the potential host from the details forwarded by Devon County Council, this officer will then arrange to meet with the host at their property at an agreed convenient time.

If all checks are completed satisfactory the host will receive a confirmation letter from Exeter City Council to confirm this. If the visiting officer feels that additional works need to be completed before the family arrive the office will advise the host and confirm via email/letter. A further visit will then be arranged once required works have been completed.


 

Support

Exeter City Council is working with Devon for Ukraine, a group of Ukrainian volunteers living in Devon who are helping refugees arriving in the county. Devon for Ukraine is also running drop-in Ukrainian Conversation Café at 6 Paris Street, Exeter, which is a valuable source of information and support. It is open Tuesday to Friday, 10am-4pm.


 

Financial Support

We are able to give a cash payment of £200 per guest, including children, to provide immediate support. The Council is contacting hosts directly with a request for information that will enable us to make this payment to the Lead Guest as soon as they arrive.

Hosts are entitled to a ‘Thank You Payment’ of £350 per month for up to 12 months, paid in arrears. This is optional and we realise that not everyone will want to claim. Government guidance stipulates that 5 checks have to have been completed and notified to the Cabinet Office before any ‘thank you’ payment can be released. The five checks are

  • It has been checked that the accommodation exists and can be used as residential accommodation (this is done by a visit to the property)
  • The accommodation has been visited and it appears suitable for the proposed guests
  • DBS checks have been initiated
  • It has been confirmed that the guest(s) has/have arrived in the accommodation
  • Safeguarding checks have been completed, including visiting the guests in their accommodation and it can be confirmed that there are no serious concerns
  • There can only be one ‘thank you’ payment per residential address.

They will be tax free and for hosts who receive welfare payments, they will not affect your benefit entitlement. ‘Thank you’ payments will not affect any council tax discounts for single occupancy.

If your guest moves out of your home for any reason, you must let us know as you will no longer be eligible for the monthly payments. Let us know by emailingukraine@exeter.gov.uk.

Please note that if the guest is in Exeter under the ‘Friends and family’ scheme they will not unfortunately be entitled to this payment or the ‘Thank You’ payment for hosts.

If your guests have arrived, and you have not heard from us, please email Ukraine@exeter.gov.uk.

The British Red Cross has advised that Cash-Based Assistance is available for Ukrainians entering the UK under the visa or sponsorship schemes or have permitted entry and stamped passport from UK Border Force.
 
As the Cash based assistance scheme is only intended to provide an immediate stabilising fund for people arriving in the UK until they can access more stable arrangements, the scheme is only available to people entering via these routes within the first 14 days of arrival. Individuals/families are only eligible for one payment through this scheme.

Most people will access this fund via a Welcome Centre on arrival to the country, however if this was not accessed at the time, please call 0808 196 3651 to speak to an advisor who will be able to fill out the application. The British Red Cross advise that it is quieter and there are lower waiting times after 3pm.


 

Bank Accounts

Guests arriving in this country will need to open a bank account. Please note that these do vary and also time scales can range from a week to up to 6 weeks for the account to active.


 

Benefit Entitlements

Guests are encouraged to make an application to the Department of Works and Pension (DWP) on arrival. We appreciate that some guests arriving in this area want to find employment and may not want to make a claim.


 

National Insurance Numbers

if the customer presents for support at the Job Centre and doesn’t have a National Insurance Number (NINO) then DWP front of house support staff will be able to apply for the customer as part of their claim to Universal Credit.


 Employment Rights

DWP have gathered information for those looking to secure employment in our area and the employment rights of the guests.

The government have developed a web site with the relevant information for both employees and employers.


 

 Welcome Pack

The Government have created a Welcome Pack and guide for those guests arriving in the Country and additional guides for hosts, this has a large amount of information to help both parties.

There is also National web site for frequently asked questions about the scheme, however please note that information is changing and being updated on regular basis as the situation changes:


 

 Information and support

Devon’s councils have jointly launched a new website with information on the crisis and help and advice for residents in Devon who are interested in helping to accommodate refugees.

For more information visit the Devon County Council Ukraine web pages - Information and more details can also be requested by email at ukraineresettlement@devon.gov.uk

  • If you are a resident with friends and family in Ukraine and need information or support about what is happening please contact the Ukrainian Embassy.
  • To make a donation towards the UN’s humanitarian work, please visit Ukrainian Humanitarian Fund UN Crisis Relief.
  • You can also make a donation via the Red Cross Ukraine Crisis Appeal.
  • For information on travel advice to and from Ukraine visit GOV.UK.
  • If you have a child in a Devon school who is affected by the crisis, please talk to your child’s teachers about any concerns you have and support you would like the school to provide.
  • Find immigration advice on temporary concessions for Ukrainian nationals applying to join a family route at GOV.UK.
  • Pop-up Conversation Cafe launches for Ukrainian refugees and locals in Exeter.

There are local collections taking place in Exeter, please refer to local social media to find out about any collections that you may wish to contribute to.

 

When this content has been updated

Last updated 7 July 2022