Hillingdon offers warm welcome to people from Ukraine
Friday 25 March: People fleeing war-torn Ukraine will be welcomed in Hillingdon as the borough opens its arms once again to those in need.
Local authorities across the country will be integral in coordinating delivery of the Homes for Ukraine scheme, which launched last month and helps provide accommodation and support for people from Ukraine. Eligible people from Ukraine can also come to the UK via the Ukraine Family Scheme.
Homes for Ukraine is open to Ukrainian nationals and their immediate family members to be sponsored to come to the UK. Those arriving will be issued visas enabling them to live and work in the UK for up to three years with access to benefits, healthcare, employment, and other support.
Households in the borough who have the space to help out are being encouraged to offer their homes and a number of residents have already applied to be a sponsor.
Sponsors are required to help organise their guest's arrival, meeting them on arrival and helping direct them to public services and with tasks, such as registering with a GP.
Among the support provided by the council will be:
- Meeting guests at Heathrow Airport and working with partner organisations to meet any initial needs.
- Carrying out DBS and safeguarding checks for all sponsors.
- Inspecting sponsor accommodation to check it's safe and appropriate.
- Carrying out safeguarding checks with guests on arrival at their sponsors.
- Administering the interim payment of £200 per guest for subsistence and the monthly £350 'thank you' payment to sponsors.
- Supporting guests to receive Universal Credit, Pension Credit and Housing benefit where they meet eligibility criteria
- Accessing Jobcentre Plus appointments for benefit assessments and job-seeking.
- Providing school places for children of school age.
- Referring guests to health and social care services as appropriate.
- Assisting if a guest is homeless or at risk of homelessness.
- Helping guests to integrate into local communities with support from voluntary, community and faith organisations.
- Providing dedicated support to sponsors.
Cllr Ian Edwards, Leader of Hillingdon Council, said: "Our borough has a proud history of providing sanctuary to people from Ukraine and those in need, so it's fantastic to see that residents have signed up to get involved and I hope many more join them.
"We're working closely with partner organisations on delivering a package of support measures that will help people from Ukraine arriving in our borough to feel safe and welcomed and will enable to them to integrate into our communities as seamlessly as possible.
"We'll also work closely to support those sponsor households who have come forward and reflect the values of inclusivity and friendship that so define our borough."
The government is providing funding to the council so it can deliver this support to families to rebuild their lives. Further funding will be available to support education services.
To see how you can help, visit our dedicated webpage.
Community, faith and volunteer groups who wish to help should email email@example.com.