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Sponsor support: Homes for Ukraine scheme

Guidance for people sponsoring individuals and families in the Homes for Ukraine scheme.

My guests have arrived

If your guest(s) has arrived and you haven’t been contacted by either the county council or your local council as part of the accommodation and safeguarding checks required, email ukraineresponse@oxfordshire.gov.uk or call 01865 966 444 (opening hours: 8.45am - 5pm, Monday to Friday, closed weekends and bank holidays) to let us know.

Note: if your guests have arrived as part of the Ukraine Family scheme, please note this is not administered by us and more information can be found on the government’s website.

When they arrive, there will be lots to consider but there are some things you can help them with that will make settling in easier.

Health

You can support your guests in accessing medical care before they have formally registered with a GP, including medication, maternity care, or mental health care.

  • Call 111 for non-urgent advice and referral to the most appropriate care.
  • Call 999 for urgent emergency care or go to your local accident and emergency.

You can help them with a local GP and NHS dentist. This is important to ensure your guest can access ongoing free medical treatment as quickly as possible.

If your guest needs mental health support, the GP will be able to make an appropriate referral following their registration and assessment. This applies to guests of all ages.

If you, as a host, your family, or your friends need support, Oxford Health has some advice on its website

Finance and benefits

Accessing grant payments

Once we have confirmation that your guest(s) has arrived, we will arrange for £200 to be paid to each Ukrainian national in person by council staff within 48 hours. This is to help cover any immediate costs they have while they settle in.

The payment will usually be issued as a pre-loaded debit card, which can be used online, in shops or at a cashpoint, just like a normal bank debit card. Your guest can request this payment in cash if preferred – please call or email us on the details above to let us know if this is the case.

Accessing benefits

Ukrainian guests can access Universal Credit as soon as they arrive in the UK. Universal Credit is a monthly payment to help with living costs, it is normally paid into a bank account but alternatives are available.

Ukrainian guests are also eligible to claim:

  • housing benefit
  • pension credit
  • personal independence payment
  • child disability living allowance
  • carers allowance
  • attendance allowance
  • employment and support allowance (subject to criteria being met)
  • jobseekers allowance (subject to criteria being met).

Ukrainian nationals will not need to go through certain checks, such as the Habitual Residency Test, which will speed up claims.

Opening a UK bank account

There are several banks registered in the UK that are offering additional support with setting up bank accounts. These include:

High street banks

Online only

Work

You can help your guests register with your local Jobcentre Plus if needed. All those from Ukraine will be able to apply for jobs with the support of an individual job coach who can help them find and apply for local employment. Jobcentre Plus will also be able to advise on Universal Credit and other benefits.

You can help them apply for a national insurance number. They will be able to use their Biometric Residence Permit as evidence of their immigration status in the UK, including their right to work.

Family

How to register children for pre-school, school or college.

Nursery or pre-school

Advice on finding a place and on free entitlement is available from the Family Information Service. If your guests have identified a provider they would like to use, they can approach them directly. 

For any help in finding a place, email fisenquiries@oxfordshire.gov.uk or telephone 01865 323332.

For information about funding entitlement and eligibility visit our website pages on free early education for 2 year olds and free early education for 3 -4 year olds.

School

Your guest(s) can apply for a school place during the school year. To do so they will need to complete an in-year transfer form on our website. We aim to process these applications within 15 days but it can take longer.

If the child will reach the age of five between September 2023 and August 2024, applications can be submitted on our website for the reception year group at primary school, starting in September 2023.

If the child will reach the age of 12 between September 2023 and August 2024, applications can be submitted on our website for secondary school, starting in September 2023.

Your guests can apply for a school place using our online form or they can print and complete this form and return it to admissions.schools@oxfordshire.gov.uk. 

Applications for school places from guests will be considered alongside all other applications. Places will be offered according to the published admissions rules for individual schools. However, in exceptional circumstances, we may find an area where it is difficult to offer children places due to a lack of available space, but we will refer such cases to our In-Year Fair Access Panel.

If face to face support is needed with the application process, this is available from us at County Hall in Oxford with no appointment necessary.

The guests' children are entitled to a free school meal. Contact the school for information and support.

For more information, and for a list of primary schools who manage their own applications, visit the schools’ pages on our website.

If you have any school application queries, the Schools Admissions Team can be contacted by emailing admissions.schools@oxfordshire.gov.uk or by telephone at 0345 241 2487

College or sixth form

Contact the school or college direct.

Education hub

The government has created an education hub with general information on how families arriving from Ukraine apply for a school place and childcare. This information has been translated and is available online.

Helping your guests settle in

Work, education, finance and health are all important to help your guests feel supported.

But a new language, a new home and leaving friends and family behind are all big changes. We have provided some useful tips below to help make settling in easier:

It’s also important to think about how you want to support your guests.

Making early decisions about how much support you offer will help everyone understand what to expect. Will you cook for them if they are staying with you? Are you happy to transport them around? Do you need them to share the cleaning, or will you be doing it all?

Explaining the basics like when to put out the bins, which key is used for which door and whether you lock all the windows when you go out will also help. It’s also important to be specific about what you mean. Using terms like ‘help yourself to anything’ may sound generous, but may make guests feel uncomfortable and unsure.

You can always change the support you give as you all get to know each other and your guests feel more confident, but being clear initially will make it far easier for your guests to settle.

You could consider a living together agreement. This could cover issues that you feel are important in your home. Having this written down helps everyone understand what is expected. It could include subjects like:

  • food preparation and cooking. For example, if you or your guests are vegetarians, how could you ensure the kitchen area works for you both.
  • the times when the kitchen and bathroom can be used.
  • how children will be supervised, both inside and outside of the home.
  • acceptable dress around the home.
  • TV and music and what each party finds  acceptable.

There are now five community liaison officers (CLOs) in place across Oxfordshire. CLOs are in place to help you and your guests understand what services and local groups are available to support you.

If you or your guest would benefit from local information, or you would like to be directly connected to a local group, get in touch with the housing team at your local city or district council.