In February 2022 Ukraine was invaded and millions of people were soon forced to move West in search of safety. In April 2022 Ukrainian refugees began to arrive in South Gloucestershire under the British Government’s new “Homes for Ukraine” visa scheme which matched Ukrainian families to volunteer hosts in Britain; offering a home for a minimum of six months.
Julian House has been commissioned by South Gloucestershire Council to provide support for the new arrivals to our community. We are working in partnership with ACH, The Care Forum and Livewest to ensure that every Ukrainian family has the support they need when they arrive. So far more than 150 people in 78 households have been supported through the partnership.
First and foremost, we visit each new arrival during their first days in South Gloucestershire to offer a warm welcome to our community, and to ensure that they feel safe and comfortable in their new home.
Over their first few weeks in England, we are helping our Ukrainian guests with a number of important tasks:-
- Help to set up a British bank account
- Providing a smartphone and a UK SIM card
- Advice about claiming Universal Credit and other welfare rights under the Homes for Ukraine scheme
- Help to register with a doctor
- Information and advice about using the NHS, accessing schools, enrolling in English classes, obtaining a Biometric Residence Permit and many other practical steps they may need to take to help with settling in.
- Many refugees arrived with very little luggage so we are helping them to access clothes, shoes and school uniforms.
- Helping them to connect to supportive networks in the local community, and activities for our new Ukrainian community across South Gloucestershire.
- As our new residents settle in, we will be able to offer support around employment, education and everything they may need to become secure, independent and fully engaged in local life.
It is so challenging for our new arrivals: they have been through the traumas of air raids, a brutal ground war, often a perilous journey across many borders and now they face huge uncertainty. Thanks to local businesses and the community we have been able to arrange day trips for families and give generous donations of gifts including toiletries and toys.
Nobody knows when it may be safe for people to return, especially to the south and east of Ukraine, or indeed whether they will have safe homes to return to. Some arrivals hope to be here for a very short time, others expect this to be a long-term residence in Britain and only time will tell. But for so long as the Homes For Ukraine arrivals are living in our community, Julian House will be there to offer help and support.
If you live in South Gloucestershire and are planning to or are already sponsoring an individual/family, please get in touch with South Gloucestershire Council to make them aware of your guest’s planned arrival date via email@example.com
If you want to find out more information on the South Gloucestershire scheme, please click here.
More information about the scheme in general can be found here.
The council will need to know about your plans to sponsor an individual/family as there as some checks they need to complete along with referring them to us to support you and your guests.