Skip to main content

Homes for Ukraine: information for sponsors

A message from Cllr Toby Savage, Leader of South Gloucestershire Council

On behalf of the district of South Gloucestershire, I write to thank you for signing up to be a sponsor under the Homes for Ukraine scheme and for opening your home to someone in need.

South Gloucestershire has always played its part in helping to support and to resettle people affected by conflict who have come to this country. The kindness and generosity that you are showing in providing safety and refuge will make a real difference to those forced to flee the Russian invasion in Ukraine.

Because this is such a great place to live, work and visit, I know that our communities will, as you have done, hold out the hand of friendship and welcome to all guests from Ukraine, as do all South Gloucestershire councillors and officers.

You may have seen the government welcome guide provided to help your guest when they arrive and our own South Gloucestershire welcome pack for guests which contains details of local information and support. Included here is what we have produced to help you as a sponsor, it should be read alongside the national guidance for sponsors. In addition, you will find further information about the council’s response to the Ukraine crisis, plus links to government guidance on our dedicated Ukraine page.

If you or your guests have any questions that are not answered in this guide or on the website, please email the council directly on HomesforUkraine@southglos.gov.uk and we will do our best to help.

 

South Gloucestershire Council receives details of sponsors and guests once they are matched.

We are required to promote the welfare of adults and children at risk and reserve the right to check in on guests and inspect accommodation once they have arrived. The sponsor guidance makes clear that prospective sponsors under the Homes for Ukraine scheme will be subject to accommodation and safeguarding checks. Sponsors will not be charged for these checks.

The government has asked us to complete DBS checks in line with government guidance. The checks do not stop the Home Office from processing the visa applications of your guests, or issuing permission for them to travel.

If your guests have children living with them, an Enhanced DBS check (including a check of the children’s barred list) will be undertaken, for all those who are 16 or over in the sponsor household who are not related to the guest.

If we decide that an adult guest requires additional support due to age, disability or illness, and an unrelated sponsor or adult aged 16 or over within the sponsor’s household intends to provide this support, then we may ask for an Enhanced DBS check (including a check of the adults’ barred list) to be undertaken on any members of the sponsor’s household that plan to support them.

In all other circumstances, where sponsors are accommodating guests in their own home, all members of the household who are 16 or over will need to undergo a basic DBS check regardless of their relationship to the guests.

We are currently calling all sponsors to arrange for the accommodation and DBS checks to take place. You do not need to contact us to tell us that you have a match as the Home Office will send data to us when you have put your match on their system.

No. The visa application process is being run by the Home Office and starts as soon as you have entered your own and your guest’s details on the system. Locally, we will then be sent your information.

The visa process does NOT need the local property or DBS checks to have been started/completed for a visa to be issued. We already have families arriving in South Gloucestershire, and where we know of these, we are prioritising visiting and calling them. The process of local DBS and accommodation checks is independent of the visa process.

Full guidance on requirements and arrangements for sponsor housing can be found in the Homes for Ukraine scheme: frequently asked questions on gov.uk

We will carry out a visual inspection of your accommodation. The inspection will look at the guest’s accommodation and areas they will have access to and will check the following:

Heating

Does the accommodation for the guest have heating with sufficient power output to heat all bedrooms and any lounges?

Food preparation

Do the guests have access to a kitchen with adequate hot and cold drinking water, a surface to prepare food, food storage and provision for cooking and refrigeration?

Fire safety

Does the property have a working smoke detector on each floor and other fire safety precautions suitable for the building, for example fire doors or escape routes as appropriate making a home safe from fire and are means of escape clear and not obstructed?

Gas

Does the property have safe gas appliances, fittings and flues and has the owner undertaken a Gas Safety check within the last year?

Carbon monoxide

Is there a working carbon monoxide detector in any room containing a solid fuel burning appliance, for example a coal fire, wood burning stove?

Electricity

Is the electrical installation and any appliances free from any obvious hazards such as broken or loose sockets, burn marks, overloading, exposed wires, or live conductors, cracked or broken light pendants, sockets too close to water?

Sleeping

Check the guest will not be sleeping in a room where a gas fire, a non room-sealed boiler or an open fire is located. Do the bedrooms meet or exceed an area of 4.64 square metres (child under 10 years) 6.51 square metres (Single) and 10.22 square metres (for 2 persons)?

Security

Do the windows and doors appear to be in a good condition and do the doors and windows at entry level lock properly?

Ventilation

Is there sufficient ventilation and is the property free of extensive black mould growth in the guest’s accommodation?

Personal hygiene

Is there at least one inside flushing toilet in working condition?  Is there a wash hand basin with hot and cold running water in the same room as each toilet? Is there at least one bath with hot and cold running water or a shower cubicle with a working shower?

Hazards

Is the property free from tripping and falling hazards such as steep stairs/stairs with no hand rails, raised and uneven floor surfaces and so on?

Repair

Is the property clean and in a reasonable state of repair?

Overcrowding

Is there sufficient space? Two people should not be in one room unless they are adult cohabiting partners, a parent and child, two siblings of the same gender aged over 10, two siblings regardless of gender aged under 10. Individuals who didn’t previously know each other should not be given the same room.

Living area

Is there a living area big enough for the guests to carry out normal activities including space for a child to do homework?

Young children

If the guests have young children, sponsors should consider additional safety measures required for ponds, window restrictors, stairgates and so on.

 

If there are significant problems identified during an accommodation check, we will discuss these with you during the visit and explain any work which needs to be carried out to make sure the property is suitable for the scheme.

It is best practice to ensure that your guests have access to a lockable, private space. Your guests are likely to have experienced significant trauma, including the loss of their own home and accommodation. For many, this experience may come alongside additional traumatic experiences, including violence and abuse. It may be difficult for people to discuss or explain what has happened to them. As a sponsor, you can help your guests to recover from these experiences by providing them with privacy and security within your home which will help them to feel safe and in control.

As a sponsor under the Homes for Ukraine scheme, you are able to claim a monthly £350 thank you payment for up to 12 months while the guests stay with you. In order to process this payment, we will need your bank details. We will send you a form to get this information. If you have not yet received a form and would like to claim the funding please email HomesforUkraine@southglos.gov.uk and let us know.

Payments will be made monthly in arrears once your guest arrives.

For sponsors who receive welfare payments, the government is ensuring thank you payments do not affect your benefit entitlement. Thank you payments will not affect any council tax discounts for single occupancy. They will be tax free.

If your guest moves out of your home for any reason, you must inform South Gloucestershire Council at the earliest opportunity as you will no longer be eligible for the monthly payments.

A Welcome Visit will be carried out either by a South Gloucestershire Council staff member or by the Julian House charity who we have appointed to provide sponsors and guests with wrap around care supported by ACH and The Care Forum.

They will want to meet you and all of your guests together, including any children. During the visit, they will want to check that your guest feels safe and to understand any problems they are facing.

Please be aware that during the Welcome Visit, we will ask for an opportunity to speak to your guest privately. This is to ensure that they have an opportunity to share any important information about their welfare or needs which they don’t yet feel comfortable discussing in the open. We would ask you to respect and facilitate this.

The member of staff who carries out the Welcome Visit will provide some additional information to you and your guest about registering for key services. They may also provide some essential items and hand over an emergency payment to your guest.

During the initial phone call to arrange a visit, we will ask about your guests’ spoken English language skills and we will try to arrange for an Ukrainian or Russian-language interpreter to visit those guests who have little or no English language skills. These are the two most common first languages spoken in Ukraine.
You might like to download this Free Ukrainian Phrasebook from Lonely Planet UK.

Your guest will receive an initial payment when they arrive in South Gloucestershire as well as a basic smart phone and a sim card. If your guest has already arrived and you cannot support them until we can arrange the Welcome Visit, then please discuss this with our Homes for Ukraine team when they call as we may be able to arrange alternative ways of making a payment, or you can email HomesforUkraine@southglos.gov.uk.

Your guest is also able to register for benefits, a National Insurance number, and to access support in finding employment. You will find help and advice on accessing financial support including welfare grants and universal credit on our financial support for residents webpage.

Your guests may find it helpful to visit one of our One Stop Shops in Kingswood, Patchway or Yate. They can book an appointment with our customer advisors by emailing OSSAppointments@southglos.gov.uk.

Staff from South Gloucestershire Council and the Julian House charity supported by ACH and The Care Forum, are providing sponsors and guests with wrap around care. They will be able to provide dedicated and specialist help to your guest in integrating into life in the UK.

As a sponsor, you are required to support and help your guests to adapt to life in the UK, initially checking if they have enough food and supplies such as toiletries and access to the internet to stay in touch with family members.

Sponsors should also help direct their guests to public services for example, registering with a GP or NHS dentist.

Further information on the role of sponsors is available online and there is great advice on how sponsors can support their guests available through Refugees at Home charity’s website.

The government’s welcome pack for guests (which is available in different languages) provides information about things like getting medical help, applying for schools and accessing benefits. Our own South Gloucestershire welcome pack for guests contains details of local information and support.

You may also be able to help by showing your guests around your local area and making sure they know how to get to the shops, access local leisure facilities, use public transport and so on.

Our local libraries have lots of facilities such as computers with internet access and other free resources you might like to explore with your guests. Information is available on our libraries webpage.

It can be tempting to want to do everything for your guests but we would encourage you to consider how you can help them to do things independently. This will ultimately help them to feel settled.

Depending on the date of arrival, it is likely that most Ukrainian families with children of school age will need to apply as an in-year application.

Application forms and details of how to apply are available on our webpage, Moving your child between schools during the school year.

Applications must be submitted by a parent but a covering letter from the sponsor can be provided.

Please be aware that popular schools within an area may be full. If your guest is having problems finding a primary or secondary school place for their child please contact our Admissions and Transport Team who can help find schools with spaces and offer further advice about what to do next. You can email them directly at admissionsandtransport@southglos.gov.uk

Your guest has the same access to NHS care as you do.

How the NHS works – a guide for migrants is a helpful guide to the services available and how to access them.

You can download How the NHS works – a guide for migrants in Ukrainian and How the NHS works – a guide for migrants in Russian.

You can help your guest to access NHS care by helping them to register with a local GP. They will not need proof of address, immigration status or ID to do this. They may be asked to provide ID and whilst it is not a requirement, it can help to make sure their name is spelled correctly in their NHS records.

If your guest has or may have special medical or social care needs it is important that we are made aware of this so that we can get them the right help.

It may be appropriate to discuss this during the initial Welcome Visit, so that a care assessment can be arranged if appropriate or details provided of how to access specialised medical services if that is what is required.

Your guest may feel more comfortable discussing this in private, including with a GP. Sponsors can help best by supporting their guest to have an opportunity to do so.

Information on the health services available within South Gloucestershire can be found on the Bristol North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group website.

Information on the health and social care services can be found on our Health and Social Care pages.

Ukrainians have the right to work as soon as they arrive in the UK. They will need to be 18-years-old to work full time. When your guest is ready to think about employment, there are lots of job opportunities within South Gloucestershire.

There are jobs in every sector including design and manufacturing, construction, computing, healthcare, retail, telecommunications and many more.

You can help your guest to arrange an appointment at your nearest Job Centre.

We also have a number of jobs in South Gloucestershire Council that might suit your guest, from jobs in social care to jobs in schools – you can show your guest how to search all our job opportunities on our careers website.

You should remember that your guest has been through a traumatic experience, however, it is likely that making social connections in the local area will help them to feel more at home. The important thing is to go at your guests’ pace, and not to put pressure on them to join you to attend social or community events until they are ready.
We would encourage you to think carefully about posting about your guests’ arrival on social media as this may expose your guest to unwanted attention from others.

Your guests may be keen to connect with people who are going through the same thing as them or who are from a similar background. We are developing a number of networking opportunities for both guests and sponsors and will email you with details of events happening in your area and any relevant groups that we know of.

According to an early release of Census 2021 data, before any arrivals via the Family Visa scheme or the Homes For Ukraine scheme, there were already approximately 130 Ukrainian people in South Gloucestershire and a total Eastern European population here of 4,390.

The largest representative body for Ukrainians and those of Ukrainian descent in the UK is the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain (AUGB).

The Ukrainian embassy is at
60 Holland Park, London W11 3SJ.
Telephone: 020 7727 6312
Email: ukrembassyuk@gmail.com

Your guest is entitled to access adult learning in South Gloucestershire, including English as a Second Language (ESOL). Details of courses will be added to our Community learning and skills service webpage.

For information on available courses and how to enrol email community.learning@southglos.gov.uk.

To open a bank account in the UK, you usually need to show proof of ID such as passport, biometric residency permit, driver’s licence or recognised identity card. You also need proof of permanent address. The Government is working with major banks to find a solution to enable Ukrainian guests to open accounts without the usual permanent address requirement.

We are aware of two banks who have streamlined processes for our guests from Ukraine: Nat West and the Royal Bank of Scotland. Other banks may also offer this service so it is worth checking their websites.

We are all of course aware of the difficult circumstances that your guests have experienced in leaving their homeland. We also know that there is a possibility that some sponsors may have serious concerns about an adult or child’s welfare and think that they might need additional support from local services. If you are concerned about an adult or a child you should alert the South Gloucestershire Council safeguarding team.

 

If you are concerned about a child who may be at risk

Call 01454 866000 (Mon-Thu 9am-5pm, Fri 8:30am-4:30pm)
or 01454 615165 (Out of hours and weekends)
Or text the letters ‘EDT’ followed by your name and message to 60066
More information is available at http://sites.southglos.gov.uk/safeguarding/children

In an emergency please ring 999

 

If you are concerned about an adult who may be at risk

Call 01454 868007 (Mon-Thu 9am-5pm, Fri 8:30am-4:30pm)
or 01454 615165 (Out of hours and weekends)
Or text the letters ‘EDT’ followed by your name and message to 60066
More information is available at http://sites.southglos.gov.uk/safeguarding/adults

In an emergency please ring 999

Our council website has details of different sources of mental health and emotional wellbeing support for adults that anyone can access if they are feeling anxious.

Mind You is South Gloucestershire’s mental health and emotional wellbeing hub for young people.

The Red Cross has lots of useful wellbeing resources.

Barnardo’s has set up the Ukrainian Support Helpline to provide a holistic support service. The helpline is available to anyone fleeing the conflict in Ukraine.
Barnardo’s free helpline 0800 148 8586 is staffed by English, Ukrainian and Russian speakers, to offer support to children and families arriving in the UK from Ukraine. Callers will be able to get help and advice on a range of topics.  A dedicated email address ukrainiansupport@barnardos.org.uk and webpage have also been set up for those assisting with the Ukraine response.

Newsround, from the BBC’s CBBC channel, has trusted videos and reports about the war in Ukraine that have been produced specifically for children. Newsround also has a section for children offering advice if they are upset by the news.

Place2Be’s educational psychologists have also shared advice about how to discuss war and conflict with children and young people – and how you can best support them at this difficult and worrying time.

Contacting us

If you or your guests have any questions that are not answered in this guide or on our website,  you can email us directly on HomesforUkraine@southglos.gov.uk.

Is there anything wrong with this page?