The UK Government announced 2 new schemes to help those fleeing the war in Ukraine.
Over 100,000 Ukrainians have sought sanctuary in the UK through the Homes for Ukraine scheme, one of the fastest, biggest and most generous visa programmes in British history.
As part of the scheme Welsh Government (WG) have now registered as a Homes for Ukraine super-sponsor. This means WG act as sponsor to people from Ukraine to offer refuge and sanctuary and will provide them with initial accommodation (welcome centres, hotels and holiday parks), support and care across Wales. This approach, also taken by Scotland’s Government, removes the need for Ukrainians to be matched to a named individual sponsor before they are cleared to travel to the UK through the visa system.
Once in the initial accommodation, Ukrainian arrivals will then be supported to resettle into more medium and longer-term ‘hosting’ accommodation within communities. Blaenau Gwent Council is working, alongside all other Welsh Local Authorities, to seek new expression of interest hosts. Do you have a spare room you could offer?
Find out more about expressing your interest in becoming a host by contacting the regional team: Lisa Meredith, Lisa.Meredith@blaenau-gwent.gov.uk
What does becoming a host involve?
“How will I know if my spare room is suitable?”
We appreciate that all accommodation offers will be different and while there is no set expectation, your accommodation needs to be free from serious health and safety hazards. As per Government guidance Blaenau Gwent council will visit your home and carry out an accommodation and safeguarding check. These checks will be arranged at a suitably convenient time and date that works for you.
“What support is available to me when I become a host?”
Blaenau Gwent Council remains committed to providing all new arrivals and their hosts with the appropriate level of support - to ensure all hosting arrangements remain as strong as possible. This support includes providing hosts with practical advice to assist you - as well as supporting your guests directly. All hosting arrangements are assigned a ‘link worker’. The local authority has been working with a third sector organisation called Displaced People in Action (DPIA) for a number of years, DPIA have wide-ranging experience in supporting refugees who have arrived into the UK - fleeing a number of conflicts from countries such as Sudan, Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan - and their experience in refugee resettlement is extensive.
“Can I charge rent if I become a host?”
If you would like to become a host under the Homes for Ukraine Scheme no rent can be charged – you will however receive the optional thank you payment – made available by UK Government. In recognition of their ongoing support amidst the rising cost-of-living, all hosts will receive the ‘thank you’ payment per month for however long the host arrangement lasts.
‘Thank you’ payments of £600 per month have now also been extended from 12 months to 2 years, so that guests who may not yet be ready to move into independent accommodation can stay in hosting accommodation for longer where hosts are willing to extend arrangements.
“Do I need to provide food for my guests?”
There is not an expectation that hosts will have to provide food or cook for guests beyond the initial needs upon arrival, but you may wish to do so at your own discretion. Hosts may also wish to request a ‘household contribution’ for shared bills/costs. Guests have access to public funds and can apply for benefits to meet their own living costs.
Cllr Steve Thomas, Leader of Blaenau Gwent Council says:
“On behalf of the local authority I would like to express a heartfelt thank you to hosts who are already supporting Ukrainians. It is heartening to see how the scheme continues to generate so much local support - which is testament to the level of generosity and goodwill within our communities.
The support hosts have extended to those fleeing the conflict in Ukraine has contributed to an astonishing national movement which has helped families rebuild their lives - for children to resume their education, for Ukrainians to find employment – and to forge lifelong friendships, but with hundreds more Ukrainians still residing in Welcome Centres we are seeking additional hosts.”
Other ways to help
Apply for a Ukraine Family Scheme visa
This scheme is to help people fleeing Ukraine to come and join a UK-based family member or extend their stay in the UK.
Disasters Emergency Committee
If you want to help but cannot offer accommodation, you can donate to the Disasters Emergency Committee
This group of charities work on the ground in Ukraine and neighbouring countries to provide essentials, including food, water, shelter and medical assistance.
We are currently not taking donations of clothes or other goods.
Thanks to all residents and communities across Blaenau Gwent for all their generosity and support.
You can also find out about a number of schemes set up to help support those affected by calling the UK helpline number on 0808 175 1508.
A fund has been set up which Community groups can bid for a grant of up to £10,000
For further guidance and information on Ukraine support for people affected visit:
Businesses and organisations can also now register offers of help and support to Ukrainian people seeking sanctuary in Wales through the Welsh Government website.
This link is only for Businesses and organisations to register their offers of support, not for individuals.
British Red Cross Ukraine Crisis Appeal
The Russian attack on Ukraine has caused the displacement of many tens of thousands of Ukrainian people from their homes and marked the onset of what could be the largest humanitarian crisis in Europe for decades.
The British Red Cross has launched an emergency fundraising appeal in response to the fighting in Ukraine.
The priority now is to help the people access clean water, health care, and psychosocial support.
The Ukrainian Red Cross Society and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) have been working hand in hand with affected communities to respond to the vast humanitarian needs caused by almost eight years of conflict.
A donation to the British Red Cross Ukraine Crisis Appeal would mean that more people in desperate need are reached.
Your donation could help someone affected get:
- first aid
- warm clothes
You can make a donation at the Red Cross Ukraine Appeal Website.