Wiltshire Council - Update on support for the people of Ukraine.

Can I first start with saying thank you for everything you and your communities are doing to support our Ukrainian refugees coming to live in Wiltshire.

I know things are busy now as a number of refugees have started to arrive and this means there is a great deal of work going on to help provide support including community hubs being set up and various community support which is heartening to see.

I wanted to use this latest briefing to provide you with an update on where we are currently with our support for refugees

Approximately 1,500 households registered for the Homes for Ukraine scheme and latest figures show 339 households have been matched with 930 individuals.

There have also been 90 school applications, 60 primary and 30 secondary, with many joining classes now Easter holidays have completed.

The government is separately issuing the visas for Ukrainian refugees. The checks, which local authorities have been asked to carry out, can wait until the guest has arrived as the Home Office will undertake their own checks prior to the guests’ arrival to speed up the process. Wiltshire Council will continue to carry out the required checks and the team will be in touch with sponsors to arrange, but these should not delay the issue of the guests’ visas.

Currently Ukrainian refugees can enter the country in two ways - as part of the Homes for Ukraine scheme or through the Ukraine Family Scheme

For the Homes for Ukraine scheme the government makes local authorities aware of the numbers coming through so they can carry out checks and provide access to benefits. The government supplies funding including the one off £200 emergency fund to the guest and the £350 monthly payment for sponsors. The council also receives £10,500 per individual to provide wraparound support.

However for the family scheme councils receive no notification and there is currently no financial support. Although there is no additional government funding for these families, knowing where they are based will help map out where additional support to wider services may be needed, This could be for school places or to work with partners where services may be required. Therefore, Wiltshire Council is asking people or communities who are welcoming Ukrainian refugees under the family scheme to email refugees@wiltshire.gov.uk.

We know our communities are busy helping Ukrainian refugees settle into Wiltshire and we’ve expanded our own teams to ensure we carry out the checks needed and also provide the ongoing support. There is a lot of work going on behind the scenes.

Please continue to promote the welcome pack which is available on the council webpage Support for Ukraine - Wiltshire Council. The webpage has general information on providing support as well as frequently asked questions for those involved in supporting the refugees and for people who want to find out more. It provides local information to sit alongside the government information for refugees Welcome: a guide for Ukrainians arriving in the UK. We also have a link to our newsletters which are sent out to our sponsors under the Homes for Ukraine scheme which you can find under the key information links page.

The government has also produced a pack for sponsors.

The government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme offers a route to those who want to come to the UK and who have someone willing to provide them with a home. Individuals, charities, community groups and businesses can volunteer accommodation. People interested can record their interest at www.gov.uk/homes-for-ukraine to receive updates and more information on how to apply .

Thank you again for your continued support.

Cllr Richard Clewer, Leader of Wiltshire Council