The schemes for Ukrainians and their family members to come to the UK are being managed by the Government. A good starting point for answers to any questions you may have about the schemes is the Government’s website:
- Homes for Ukraine scheme FAQs
- More information on becoming a sponsor
- Information on the Ukraine Family Scheme
Some frequently asked questions relating to Southampton’s support for Ukrainians and their immediate family members arriving in the city are answered below.
Homes for Ukraine update
We’ve also issued an update which covers the support available for sponsors and guests and our appeal for more homes in Southampton. See the Homes for Ukraine update.
What support is the council providing to Ukrainians once they arrive in the city? SHOW
There are two different schemes running alongside each other. The Family scheme involves Ukrainians and their immediate family members applying to stay with family who are already living in the UK. The council is not directly involved with providing welfare support for people entering the UK under this scheme. However, Family scheme members will still be able to visit our Welcome Hub (see Welcome Hub FAQ below) to access information and can email questions to email@example.com.
The Homes for Ukraine scheme is a sponsorship scheme which allows volunteers in the UK to offer accommodation to Ukrainians and their immediate family members.
More information on this scheme is available at Homes for Ukraine scheme FAQs. The council will be administering the optional £350 monthly 'thank you' payments to the sponsor households and will be able to offer some support to Ukrainians who come to Southampton on this scheme. The level and type of support offered will depend on the needs of people arriving. Where required, this will include helping to find school places, linking people with support for their health and other needs, enabling people to access English language courses, support to access the welfare and benefits system, and support to access employment opportunities.
Is there a Welcome Hub where Ukrainian refugees can go to get help once they arrive? SHOW
Yes. We have a Welcome Hub at the entrance to the Central Library (formally the O2 Guildhall Southampton Box Office), Civic Centre, Southampton, SO14 7LW, open from 10am to 2pm on Wednesday 21 and Monday 26 September. The Welcome Hub can provide information on what help is available and how to access it.
The Welcome Hub will then be closed from Friday 30 September. There will be a closing ceremony on Friday 30 September from 10am to 1pm which will be open to everyone.
If anyone is unable to visit the Welcome Hub but would like information, they can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07471 025 913.
The Welcome Hub can assist visitors who reside in the following post code areas: SO14, SO15, parts of SO16, SO17, parts of SO18, and SO19. Please check your local council via the Government website.
Visitors intending to reside in areas outside of Southampton should go to the Hampshire County Council website for information.
Once Ukrainians have arrived under the Homes for Ukraine scheme, how do host households, and our Ukrainian guests access the support available? SHOW
Registered host households in the city are already being contacted directly by the council and will be given a direct email address to use when contacting us. In addition to support provided to guests by the council as part of the Homes for Ukraine Scheme, sponsors and guests will be able to visit the Welcome Hub for support and guidance. The Hub is in the entrance to Central Library (O2 Guildhall Box Office) and will be open from 10am to 2pm on Monday, Wednesday and Friday (closed Tuesday and Thursday). The Government has also published a guide for Ukrainians arriving in the UK.
Southampton City Council is not involved in the assessment or support of registered sponsors outside of the city and does not have access to information about them. Queries about non-Southampton sponsor arrangements should be directed to the local authority where the sponsor has been registered.
Each guest residing in Southampton will have a welfare visit conducted by Citizens Advice Southampton, or City Life Education or Action for Refugees (CLEAR). This is to provide an outreach service and ensure welfare and safeguarding issues are identified and responded to appropriately. Colleagues will offer advice and support with applying for benefits and signposting to other agencies. They will also arrange monthly review meetings to cover ongoing wraparound/integration support. We are sharing certain information about guests, including names, dates of birth and addresses, with Citizens Advice Southampton under our agreement to provide this service. Sponsors and guests have been informed that this data will be shared.
I have Ukrainians staying with me under the Family scheme. What support is available to us and how do we access it? SHOW
There is currently no specific support available from the Government for people who enter under this scheme – however, the Welcome Hub will be able to provide Family scheme members the same general information that will be available to those arriving via the Homes for Ukraine scheme.
CLEAR and EU Welcome are able to offer advice, guidance and signposting to Ukrainians and their family members who are now in the city. This advice includes topics such as immigration status, benefits and housing. People can contact them by calling 023 8022 1111 or request a call back via the CLEAR Advice form.
They are unable to offer advice to those seeking to bring family members from Ukraine to the UK.
I am a confirmed host household. Will I lose my single person Council Tax discount if I host a person / family from Ukraine? SHOW
No. Council Tax discounts will not be affected if you sponsor and host Ukrainian guests in your home. The £350 ‘thank you’ payment will not affect any Council Tax discounts.
How will the council ensure the safety of those arriving from Ukraine under the Homes for Ukraine scheme? SHOW
Sponsors will undergo initial criminal records checks before any visa is issued by the Home Office. In addition to this, the council will undertake Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks for all people aged 16 and over in the sponsor household.
Councils have a statutory duty to promote the safety and welfare of all adults and children. Southampton City Council has developed data sharing agreements with Hampshire Constabulary, the NHS and Citizens Advice Southampton to ensure guests and their families are provided with relevant support.
Councils are expected to remain vigilant to safeguarding risks and where concerns arise use existing guidance and frameworks to take appropriate action. This includes sharing information with the other council departments to complete any safeguarding checks, in order to protect people from harm and provide the right support to them when necessary.
Citizens Advice Southampton will visit guests once they have arrived in their accommodation to meet with them and their sponsor to carry out an initial welfare check and provide information about ongoing support.
How will you ensure that those arriving from Ukraine do not pose a risk to the hosts they will be staying with? SHOW
The Government is conducting standard security checks on Ukrainians before they are issued with a visa.
I run a local business and I’d like to offer employment to Ukrainians once they have arrived. How can I do this? SHOW
The Government has issued information for businesses who would like to offer employment opportunities. See Offering work to people who have come to the UK from Ukraine.
Local businesses that would like to offer employment should email DWHI.EmployerOfferInbox@dwp.gov.uk clearly stating that they would like to offer employment to Ukrainians in their email.
I am not part of the Family or Homes for Ukraine schemes, but I’d still like to help. What can I do? SHOW
There are a number of ways in which people can help:
Southampton Ukrainian Community Support Group meets on Saturdays in Woolston. For more information, please visit the group’s website.
Further information on how you can help and how to donate safely is published on the Government’s website.
If you are a local group that would like to offer support or help, please email email@example.com.