Hosting

So you are thinking of hosting a family

There has been a lot of local interest in hosting Ukrainian refugees which is a credit to our community. The people of the UK are clearly kind, generous and compassionate.  If you are considering offering accommodation to a Ukrainian family then it would be beneficial read the useful guidelines we have collected to help you understand your commitment.

Guides to plan your support

In this guide, you can read how successful sponsorship is all about helping those you welcome feel confident and able to navigate life in a new country. This can be achieved through adopting an empowerment approach – never doing something for someone without them.

The people you support have been forcibly displaced from their homes. They’ll be adjusting to a new culture, way of working, and new customs. They may be navigating this alone, with no connection with people they work with or in their new neighbourhood.

Sponsors can provide the support and local expertise to navigate this adjustment. Feeling integrated is a difficult concept, we will all feel it to different degrees at times and it doesn’t happen overnight. Integration is firmly based in our own feelings, experience, and ambitions.

 

In this guide, you can access some ideas to think about when preparing your home. We recommend also reading this guide prepared by NACCOM and their members.

 

In this guide, you can find ways in which you can help refugees prepare for managing their finances in the UK.

 

In this guide, you can start to understand your safeguarding responsibilities and how to talk to refugees about this.

 

In this guide, you can read more about a variety of areas of support your guest may need. Be mindful where your responsibility ends and the local authority responsibility begins, if you are in doubt, check with your local authority.

 

Useful Links

Preparing to host

  • City of Sanctuary have written a blog on what to think about before you sponsor

  • Pickwell Foundation – resources and guidance for sponsors in North Devon & Torridge, although many resources will be useful for everyone in England

  • NACCOM - Hosting good practice guide

  • VITA Network – templates and guidance for preparing to sponsor

Immigration Advice

Travel to the UK

  • Eurostar are offering free travel to London to Ukrainians

  • National Rail are offering free onward transport following arrival in the UK

  • Stena Line - are offering free crossings on ferries

  • Wizz Air are offering free flights to Ukrainian refugees

Health and wellbeing

Employment

  • Micro Rainbow are able to offer integration and employment advice for LGBTQI Ukrainians

  • Refugee Employment Network advertise vacancies and training for people with a refugee background

  • United for Ukraine are offering assistance for Ukrainians arriving in the North of England to access employment support.

Government resources

General

  • City of Sanctuary have a great list of useful links.

  • Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain have branches around the UK

The steps involved...

Register your interest
How sponsorship works

Homes for Ukraine is a sponsorship scheme that allows people and organisations in the UK to offer Ukrainians fleeing the war a home. This scheme lets individuals, charities, community groups and businesses offer a route to safety for Ukrainians, even if they have no ties to the UK. 

  • To be confirmed as a sponsor you must be based in the UK; with at least 6 months permission to be in the UK.
  • You’ll need to provide a bedroom and a place to live for 6 months.
  • Guests will need to have full access to come and go as they please, privacy and access to facilities such as kitchen space and bathrooms.
  • You’ll welcome refugees into your homes and families.
  • You can’t charge rent but sponsors using the scheme will be offered a ‘thank you’ payment of £350 per month from the Government.
  • You’ll support refugees in making the UK their home. The Hilltop USC can help you with this.
Find someone to sponsor
You need the name of the person(s) to sponsor

If you have a named person who you wish to sponsor you should contact them directly and fill in a visa application with all their details and yours.

However if you wish to sponsor someone but don’t know anyone, the Homes For Ukraine scheme recommends you to get in touch with charities, faith groups or local community organisations.  Charities that may be able to help connect you with someone include:

Applying for a visa

Once you know who you wish to sponsor, either you or they can apply for a visa online. The visa is free and the application form is available in English only, however, the government’s guidance is also available in Russian and Ukrainian. Organisations such as IOM are able to provide support in country for those coming to the UK with the visa process. Ukrainians can contact the  Ukrainian Advice Project for further support.

Every individual you are sponsoring must complete an individual form, irrespective of age. If you are sponsoring a family of four, that means they will need to fill in four application forms, regardless of age.

Local Authority Checks
Visit from Local Authority
Once the visa application has been submitted, the UK Government will inform your local authority that an application has been made. The local authority will be in contact with you to arrange a home visit and carry out their checks. Your local authority will be providing the wrap-around support for the people you sponsor. This could include registering children in school, signing up for benefits and providing access to English language lessons. You can read the guidance issued here.
Travel Arrangements
The sponsor or the guest must arrange travel

Once the Home Office have approved the visa application, and provided a ‘permission to enter letter’ to those outside of the UK, the person coming to the UK will be able to travel here. Responsibility for travel lays with the guest or sponsor. Many airlines and all UK train companies are offering free travel to Ukrainians who show their Ukrainian passport and travel by train within 48 hours of arriving in the UK. 

Arriving in the UK
Further Local Authority contact

Throughout the six months that you sponsor someone to the UK, your local authority will be in close contact with you as they provide wrap-around support for the people you sponsor.