Preparations start to welcome Ukrainian refugees to Cheshire West and Chester
4 April 2022Cheshire West and Chester Council has started working with residents who are offering a home to those fleeing the conflict in Ukraine.
The Government opened the Homes for Ukraine scheme on 18 March, giving UK residents chance to sign up as a sponsor and provide accommodation to refugees.
The Council is now getting in touch with sponsors in the borough who have already been matched with Ukrainian guests, offering support and advice and outlining next steps before their guests’ arrival.
Cllr Louise Gittins, Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council, said:
“The Council has a really important part to play in supporting the sponsors and their guests.
“One of our first roles is to make sure that all accommodation is suitable for the guests before they arrive, that sponsors know what their responsibilities are and are supported and that guests are safe and well when they arrive.
“We’ll help refugees with school places, job seeking and benefits support and help people access other services, like mental health services, adult social care or children’s services.
“We’re already working with our health partners at NHS Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) among others, including the community and voluntary sector, to make life as easy as possible when we welcome these people who have already been through so much.”
“We are also already in the process of resettling vulnerable Afghan families and will continue our caring approach to anyone who is forced to flee their country.”
The Council will also administer interim payments for Ukrainian guests to cover subsistence costs and ‘thank you’ payments to sponsors of £350 per month while they are a sponsor.
Cllr Samantha Dixon, who has been appointed the Council Leader’s Champion for Refugees, said:
“The response from our community has been overwhelming and we are so grateful to all those individuals and organisations who have offered to support refugees as they try to rebuild their lives.
“We also acknowledge the frustration of those who have signed up to be a sponsor but are yet to be matched.
“There is still much that we can all do to help while the national Homes for Ukraine scheme is worked through.
“This includes making a financial donation to the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) appeal or joining the Council’s network of community champions to help share important and trusted information with your networks.
“We all have part to play in welcoming refugees into our community while respecting their privacy and treating these people, who have experienced such extremely traumatic events, with the respect and dignity they deserve.”
The Council is holding a webinar for Community Champions, town and parish councils and community and voluntary groups to find out more about the borough’s response on Monday, 4 April. Sign up to the Community Champions network to find out more.
This webinar will be recorded and will be available on the Council’s website in due course.
For more information about the Council’s response, the Homes for Ukraine scheme, Community Champions and how you can help visit: www.cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk/ukraine.
Anyone with enquiries can also email the Council’s dedicated address: firstname.lastname@example.org.