Due to the many individual queries to Suffolk County Council's dedicated Refugee Support email address, and given that they do not have capacity to reply to everyone individually, they have put together this generic information to update residents as much as they can about the response to the Ukraine refugee crisis.
Please continue to refer to the government frequently asked questions page Homes for Ukraine scheme: frequently asked questions - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) as this is being updated regularly.
Suffolk County Council has received the initial guidance from government about the actions they are asking local authorities to take. Further detailed guidance is expected during the next week. Until they receive that they cannot provide more details about some of the services they will be providing.
Please visit Suffolk County Council's dedciated webpage on this matter: use this link to be redirected
Phase One – Individuals sponsoring named guests
• In this phase, either a guest or a sponsor will be able to complete a single application for a visa. The form will ask the person completing it to name both parties.
• After the application is submitted, security checks are done on both the sponsor, all other adults in the sponsor’s household, and the guest.
• Once both sponsor and guest have passed the checks, the Home Office will issue the guest with a permit to travel.
• The guest can then travel to the UK and coordinate their arrival with the sponsor.
• From Sunday 20 March, guests arriving in the country will be eligible for a single onward journey via national rail, bus, light rail, and coach. This will be free of charge to anywhere in England, Scotland and Wales. Further information is available at: https://www.nationalrail.co.uk/ukraine.
Phase Two - matching to unknow Ukrainian refugees
There are several ways you can help support and sponsor a Ukrainian household if you do not already know anyone in need. A number of charities and non-government organisations are working to offer services to match potential sponsors and Ukrainian households seeking to come to the UK. These include Reset Communities and Refugees who are helping register and match refugees from Ukraine with sponsors across the UK. They’re a non-profit organisation set up in 2018 to help communities welcome refugees Homes for Ukraine Please note that the local charity, Suffolk Refugee Support, is not involved in the refugee matching process.
Household sponsors with a spare room, or separate self-contained accommodation that is unoccupied can come forward to help. Accommodation must be available for at least 6 months, be fit for people to live in, and suitable for the number of people to be accommodated. This can be anything from an empty room to an unoccupied home, as long as it’s safe, heated and free from health hazards, and gives your guests adequate access to bathroom and kitchen facilities. As an example, providing a sofa bed in a living area would not be suitable as there must be a separate room to give the guests some privacy.
Suffolk County Council are awaiting the specific guidance on suitable accommodation; so are unable to answer specific questions about this yet.
Council tax discounts will not be affected if you sponsor and host a Ukrainian household in your home.
If you rent, you should seek the permission of your landlord. You’ll need to check with your landlord, freeholder or mortgage provider, and insurance company, about whether they’ve got any policies which you need to factor in. It’s important you think through any possible implications for your tenancy, mortgage, lease and insurance before your guest arrives in the UK.
The district and borough councils, health, education, DWP, police and voluntary sector partners in Suffolk are working together to co-ordinate how services will be provided. This is building on our existing experience of other refugee programmes. We are developing how we will deliver support for applying for benefits with the DWP; provision of school places with the School Admissions Team; assessing accommodation and payments of the £350 per month per host household for up to 12 months with the district and borough councils; provision of the £200 initial payment to the refugee arrivals; access to health care with Health Outreach and the Clinical Commissioning Groups and provision of wider integration support including English classes, employment advice and activities that bring people together and help them settle into life in Suffolk with Suffolk Refugee Support.
Suffolk welcomes the enthusiasm of community groups who wish to help the refugees arriving in their local areas. As soon as details are avaialble about a virtual meeting to discuss how they can make best use of your support these will be provided.
Please bear with the Councty Council for now and don’t rush into putting lots of local provision in place so that they can avoid duplication and make sure the provision meets the needs of the Ukrainian people arriving here.
They need to make sure we neither have too much provision in some places or gaps elsewhere; so we can do this best by working together. They also need to see how successful the matching process is and whether all of the generous offers of accommodation are taken up.
The Parish Council will update this page with further updates about assessing accommodation, safeguarding checks and support services as soon as they become available.