In Wychavon we welcome refugees fleeing the conflict in Ukraine and will do what we can, working with our partners, to support them.
The information on this page is for sponsors or people considering sponsoring someone under the Homes for Ukraine scheme. It explains more about the process and what is expected of people offering to host people in their home.
If you are a Ukrainian guest looking for information about Wychavon, or a sponsor looking for information about the local area to help your guest(s) then please read our Homes for Ukraine Welcome to Wychavon guide.
Use the links below to find the information you need:
- Registering as a sponsor
- Finding someone to sponsor
- Applying for a visa
- Travel to the UK
- Travel in the UK
- Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks
- Household and basic checks
- Financial support for you
- How you can help your guest(s)
- Mental health support for your guest(s)
- If you need help supporting your guest(s)
- Other Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)
To become a recognised sponsor, and to qualify for any payments and support, you must register on the Homes for Ukraine website, managed and run by the UK government. You must be prepared:
• to be security checked
• for all members of your household to have their criminal record checked by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)
• for your accommodation to meet basic minimum criteria
• to be able to host for a minimum of six months
Additionally, you should give careful thought to your ability:
• to provide a safe environment
• to cope with young people and children, if offering to host families
• to host people who have suffered hardship and trauma
You should also consider if the location of your accommodation is suitable in terms of easy access to services, for example, public transport, schools and shops.
The UK government has published more information for sponsors.
Once you have registered on the Homes for Ukraine site you can either:
- Get in contact with a Ukrainian individual or family you wish to sponsor directly. You will need to fill in a visa application with their details and yours. There is no officially recognised method for doing this so please be careful and make sure the person you are in contact with us genuine.
- Register your interest to sponsor a Ukrainian refugee on the official Reset matching service (opens new window). This is a government backed matching service run by Reset, which has run a community sponsorship scheme for refugees since 2018.
Once you have identified and contacted a Ukrainian person or family that you wish to host, you or the Ukrainian person must apply for a visa.
A separate form must be completed for everyone who wishes to be sponsored and is intending to travel. You can fill in the form together.
You can apply for a visa on the government’s website (opens new window) which also contains some additional guidance.
There is no formal support for organising travel to the UK and we are unable to help with this.
Many travel operators are providing free travel within the UK. Please check with local operators to find out what they are offering.
Free train travel
Ukrainian arrivals who have entered the UK will be able to travel free of charge on the national rail network by showing their Ukrainian passport and a boarding pass or ticket showing arrival into the UK.
They will have 48 hours from arrival in the UK to complete their journey.
The scheme applies to all train operators in Britain, and many bus and coach operators are also offering free onward travel to final destinations.
Free coach travel
National Express is offering free travel for Ukrainian arrivals who arrive in the UK to travel to a destination of their choice.
Free travel can be arranged from a UK arrival point to another location currently served on the National Express network.
Individuals are encouraged to contact National Express in advance to guarantee their journey but they will also accept turn up and go travel (subject to availability).
Individuals will have 48 hours to make their onward journey from arrival in the country.
Once you are matched with a Ukraine citizen or family, and the visa application is completed, the Home Office passes your information to Worcestershire County Council.
Worcestershire County Council will then arrange with you for a DBS check to be carried out. They will contact you directly about this.
We are proud of the way our residents have stepped up to offer support to those fleeing the war in Ukraine.
There are some basic checks we need to carry out though before your guest can arrive to make sure the accommodation is suitable.
When we receive information you are registered as a host, our housing team will be in touch with you to arrange a check of your accommodation. In some cases, we are receiving this information before visas are issued so we may contact you before you have heard back from the Home Office or your guests.
Accommodation checks do not need to be completed before a visa is issued so in some cases your guest may have already arrived before checks are carried out.
Our team will assess whether or not the accommodation you intend to provide is suitable for the person or people you are hosting.
One of the main things they will be looking for is whether or not there is sufficient space for the number of people you wish to accommodate.
Two people should not be in one room unless they are:
- adult cohabiting partners
- a parent and child
- two siblings of the same gender if aged over 10
- two siblings regardless of gender if aged under 10
Individuals who didn’t previously know each other should not be given the same room.
Some other things our team will be looking for include:
- Whether smoke alarms are installed on all levels
- If the gas boiler has been serviced within the last 12 months (if applicable).
- The installation of a carbon monoxide alarm if there is an open fire or solid fuel burner in the property
- The size of the room or rooms for the number of people being accommodated
- The condition of electrical sockets and electrical installations. If you are hosting a Ukrainian Guest in your own home, we will not expect to see an electrical safety certificate for fixed electrical systems, but we will for guests hosted in privately rented properties, in line with current regulations.
- Adequate heating, lighting and ventilation for rooms proposed to be used for sleeping and habitation
- The general condition of the property and any disrepair that would potentially lead to accidents or mean the property is not suited for some people. For example a first floor low window without a restrictor could result in a toddler falling and being injured.
- Garages, garden rooms and such not converted for habitation will not be allowed to be used as such.
We will not be expecting or requiring properties to meet current building regulations in all regards but take a reasonable approach bearing in mind typical property conditions.
If we find any issues, we will let you know and give you an opportunity to fix them before your guest arrives.
Our staff will of course help to reassure you about any worries you might have and will talk to you about, for example, your own support network, your community and any rules/boundaries you might wish to set in advance.
Once you have told us your guest(s) have arrived our team will also need to carry out a basic welfare check on them to make sure all their needs are being met and if there is any other support they need such as health or care needs.
We have provided a list of other things for you to consider about your accommodation, that our team may not necessarily be checking.
You will receive a payment of £350 per month as a ‘thank you’ from the Government. This is optional, you do not have to claim this.
If you do decide to take the payment then it will not affect any benefits you are receiving or any Council Tax discount you are claiming.
If you would like to receive the payment then you will be asked to fill in your details by the team when they come to do the accommodation check.
The money will be paid by bank transfer each month and is paid in arrears. The payment process starts once you let us know your guest(s) has arrived. Payments are made for up to 12 months.
We will carry out regular checks that your guests are still staying with you and you must inform us as soon as they leave so that we can stop your payments.
We reserve the right to reclaim money from anyone who fails to tell us their guest(s) have left their accommodation and continues to claim the monthly payment.
As well as making sure your guest(s) basic needs are met and helping them adjust to life in the area, there are three important things we would ask you to do as soon as possible, ideally within the first 72 hours of their arrival. They are:
- Register them with a GP (and a dentist if possible)
- Set them up a bank account
- Help them make their Universal Credit application
Setting them up with a bank account will be a really important part of them settling into life in the UK.
Several banks are already sharing information on how Ukrainian guests can access a basic bank account, including if they are missing specific documents usually required. Worcestershire County Council has also made an arrangement with Lloyds TSB, used for the Syrian and Afghan settlement schemes, and assistance with this can be requested through the Worcestershire Here 2 Help service.
If you find your guests are very traumatised and need support then you should contact the GP you have registered them with. This will enable them to access local mental health services.
Worcestershire County Council is working with local mental health services and we hope to receive more information about local support soon.
Your guests can also contact the free Barnardo's helpline. Ukrainian and Russian translation is available through this helpline.
There is a range of support on offer for your guest(s) which they can access directly or you can use to help them.
Worcestershire Here 2 Help
The Worcestershire Here 2 Help service is being run by Worcestershire County Council. It can help your guest(s) access food, medicines and offer other support such as help setting up a bank account.
You can request help using the online form or by calling the number on the website.
Worcestershire County Council will also be responsible for:
- Arranging a school place for any school age children your guest(s) have with them
- Arranging English lessons for your guest(s)
If you have any questions about this you can contact the Here 2 Help service.
South Worcestershire Citizens Advice
South Worcestershire Citizens Advice can offer help and support on a range of topics including accessing benefits, money advice, housing, employment, community and home support, social care and immigration issues. If they cannot help you then they will refer you to someone who can.
If your guest(s) speak good English, or you can help translate for them, then call the advice line on 0808 278 7891.
You can download a Ukrainian phrasebook and dictionary (opens new window) to help you communicate with your guest(s).
Welcome to Wychavon guide
We have produced some basic information your guest(s) may find useful to help them adjust to life in Wychavon.
It is available online only at the moment, but we hope to produce some printed information shortly we can give to sponsors to give to guests on their arrival.
These are answers to some of the questions we are being asked the most. We will update this list as we get more information.
You can also read the Government’s Homes for Ukraine Frequently Asked Questions on gov.uk (opens new window).
Can I charge rent?
You cannot charge rent as part of the scheme. You can ask for a reasonable contribution towards general household expenses (gas and electric, broadband, etc.) should you wish. The Government has not defined what a reasonable contribution is. You should take into account the circumstances of the person or people you are hosting. A guest can raise this with us if they feel they are being asked to pay an unreasonable amount.
Your guest(s) will be given an initial £200 payment to help them through until their benefit claim is processed or they find work should they be in a position to do so.
When they first arrive you are asked to provide basic needs, such as toiletries, but you are not expected to provide food and other essentials.
If your guest requires help accessing food, medicines and other essentials then they should contact the Worcestershire Here 2 Help service.
What happens if my guest arrives and they wish to move out or I no longer want to be part of the scheme?
If you find that the demands of looking after your refugee or refugee family are too much for you, or you wish them to leave your property for another reason, then you should contact our Housing team.
We will discuss the situation with both of you and try to come to an agreement. If that fails then your refugee or refugee family will be considered homeless and our Housing team will step in to offer support and alternative accommodation if possible.
While the scheme expects you to host for a minimum of six months, your guest(s) are under no obligation to remain in your household indefinitely. They are free to work and access benefits while living in the UK and may wish to use this income to rent privately once they have settled in.
If they wish to do this then a guide to renting in the UK on GOV.UK (opens new window) is available to support them.
They are also eligible to register for social housing and we will be writing to you and your guest(s) early on during their stay with more information on how they go about this.
Will guests have had Covid vaccines/do we need to sign them up?
We believe Covid vaccination rates in Ukraine are lower than in the UK (data sources suggest between 35%-50% have had one dose).
Guests do not have to be vaccinated to come to the country but are able to access free vaccination on the NHS, in line with residents in England. If they have had no vaccinations to date, they can simply attend one of the local clinics.
If they had received one or more doses in Ukraine, they should speak to a GP beforehand as the vaccine they have received may be different to those used in the UK.
You can also pdf download the Covid-19 vaccine information guide in Ukrainian (opens new window) (429 KB) to offer your guest(s) more information.