Herefordshire cabinet members last week (Thursday 27 October) agreed how government’s Homes for Ukraine sponsorship scheme funding will be used.
Government provides £10,500 for each person who comes into the county as part of its Homes for Ukraine scheme. In summary, the money will be used in Herefordshire to:
- Fund sponsors who provide accommodation
- Provide services that will help guests settle here, re-build their lives and fully integrate into the community
Government provides councils with guidance on the kinds of support they should look to provide. These are:
- Accommodation checks
- Safeguarding checks (including DBS for sponsors)
- Interim payments for guests – an initial £200 on arrival
- Bank accounts
- Education and childcare
- Service referrals, for example social care and mental health support
- Work and benefits guidance
- Homelessness help
- Community integration
- ‘Thank you’ payments for sponsors
- Identifying where rent is being charged
- Distribution of funding
Launched in March 2022, the Homes for Ukraine scheme provides sponsors with a ‘thank you’ payment of £350 a month to provide refugees with a home. Sponsors are expected to accommodate guests for at least six months and up to 12 months.
Guests can live and work in the UK for up to three years and have access to benefits, healthcare, employment and other support.
The government is providing additional, separate funding to councils to provide education services for children from families who have arrived through the Homes for Ukraine scheme. These are: £3,000 (for early years); £6,580 for primary school children; £8,755 for secondary school children, aged 11-18.
To date, over 135 Ukrainian children and young people have been placed in primary and secondary schools in Herefordshire.
As well as approving the spend plan, cabinet members also agreed the corporate director for community wellbeing would lead Herefordshire’s effort. Hilary Hall will take all operational, budgetary and implementation decisions related to the scheme. This includes all contingency sums and budget variations with the overall approved budget.
Councillor Pauline Crockett, cabinet member for health and adult wellbeing, says: “I’m very pleased this key decision has been approved. It gives us a strong platform to build on to support people arriving here from Ukraine. The funding we provide, as well as the services we can offer and signpost to, give guests the fundamental help they need.
“I’m also delighted there are many good news stories on how people in Herefordshire are helping our guests not only settle but thrive within our community. Already, there have been many events taking place that bring people together. This helps guests settle in and gives residents opportunities to meet and learn from people from Ukraine. The integration grant scheme we launched in September, offering grants of up to £100,000, will also help new and existing projects come into being to help our guests really integrate within Herefordshire. I look forward to learning more about the kinds of activities successful applicants introduce.”