Council leaders across the county have pledged to welcome Ukrainian guests with a ‘One Worcestershire’ approach, confirmed by a joint statement of support:
“The situation in Ukraine has shocked us all locally, nationally and internationally and our thoughts are with all those who have been affected.
“As Leaders of the seven councils across Worcestershire, we have unanimously pledged to support in as far as we are able, those arriving to our County from Ukraine with a One Worcestershire approach.
“We’d like to thank residents across Worcestershire for their continuing support.”
Worcestershire County Council and the six District Councils are working together with local communities, using their experience of supporting refugees over the last few years, to ensure the county can offer the best experience to those arriving from Ukraine.
Details from central Government have started to be shared on the number of sponsors for ‘Homes for Ukraine’ and potential numbers of Ukrainian guests that will be welcomed into Worcestershire.
Nationally, over 150,000 people registered in the first few days and it has taken some time for the Government to work through the detail and match families to potential homes and share this information with relevant councils.
Current information suggests nearly 100 sponsors in Worcestershire have been matched to Ukrainian families on the Government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme, which means the county could be welcoming over 200 guests, however this number is likely to change throughout the process.
There is a lot already being done to ensure the county is ready for guests to arrive. The role of the District Councils is to carry out checks on the suitability of the accommodation and the welfare of the Ukrainians. This includes providing emergency funding support for each person. The council will also help them to claim Universal Credit or other relevant benefits, if required as well as provide the £350 a month ’thank you‘ payment to sponsor households.
The County Council’s role will be to support Sponsor families to gain the relevant background checks needed and also to gather and mobilise wider support that may be needed for both sponsor families and guests when they arrive.
To help with this, the already well established Here2Help service run by the County Council is evolving to help organise and link up those wishing to offer help to those who may need help or advice.
Here2Help will also become the hub for information when families start to arrive and therefore details of how to access support will be included in welcome packs that are being produced.
The County Council and District Councils would therefore encourage anyone who feels they are able to support in any way to go through Here2Help and fill out the ‘offer of help’ form.
There is specifically a request for those individuals, organisations or services who are in a position to provide practical/emotional support and translation support and are not already registered on the Community Services directory, to register online as soon as possible.
When the guests start to arrive, council staff will be working closely with them and their sponsor families to understand what additional support they may need in terms of donations from residents and businesses.
Libraries in each district have also become hubs for residents to find trusted information about how they can help, access a wide variety of information and will also be locations where Ukrainian families can meet and use our services and we have increased our stock of books that will be useful for our Ukrainian guests.
Anyone interested in becoming a sponsor by offering accommodation should register on the Homes for Ukraine page on government website.
For the most up to date information, please visit the county councils Support for Ukraine webpage.
There is also a ‘Support For Ukraine’ button on the main County Council webpage.