Support for Ukraine
As part of our commitment to supporting the City of Sanctuary movement Winchester City Council is welcoming refugees who are seeking a safe place due to the ongoing Ukraine crisis.
We are working within developing guidance from Government in order to meet the needs of people from Ukraine fleeing the country – building on previous resettlement schemes and our past experiences to help refugees and evacuees from other conflicts. Our webpages are being updated on a regular basis to ensure we keep the public well informed about the steps we are taking with our partners across Hampshire to support those seeking refuge, and how they can help.
If you have any queries or concerns you would like to raise with us, then please do fill out our form here.
About the Scheme
Homes For Ukraine Scheme
On Monday 14 March, the Government launched its Homes for Ukraine scheme. This enables individuals and organisations the opportunity to volunteer accommodation to house Ukrainians forced to escape their homeland.
More information is available here.
Become a Host
If you want to offer a home to people fleeing Ukraine, you can become a sponsor as part of the Homes for Ukraine scheme.Homes for Ukraine: record your interest.
What to Expect
- DBS Checks -
You will be contacted to arrange for a free DBS check for all household members over the age of 16 (not the Ukrainian Guests). For hosts offering an unoccupied property for their guests, the primary host will be required to undergo a free DBS check but this may not be necessary for other members of your household.
- Home Checks - a council officer will arrange for a home check, at your convenience, to be carried out to ensure that the accommodation is safe and habitable. To be approved as a host, the accommodation must meet the specified basic accommodation needs. Home checks take approximately 1 hour and you should expect to hear back within 48 hours.
- Guest Arrival - Upon receipt of arrival each guest will be gifted £200 to assist with immediate settlement costs. This is reliant on the host's confirmation of their guests arrival.
- Guests Leaving - Please notify us when your guests move on from your accommodation.
- Housing Options - If it is no longer safe or viable to continue with your housing arrangements and would like advice on alternative housing options, please contact our dedicated team at email@example.com.
- Support for your Guests - The following section, Practical Advice For Guests, details important information about the services guests should access to support daily life. You may want to familiarise yourself with the content and offer assistance with registrations.
For more guidance visit Homes for Ukraine: Guidance for guests - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).
- DBS Checks -
Practical Advice For Guests
Immigration Advice - Information and support for Ukrainian refugees in the UK, including family migration visa and the Ukraine family scheme Help for Ukrainian Refugees in the UK | British Red Cross
- How the National Health Service (NHS) works: English, Ukrainian and Russian
- Register with a dentist: Find a dentist - NHS (www.nhs.uk)
- Register with a GP: Find a GP - NHS (www.nhs.uk)
- Get up-to-date with your vaccinations: English, Ukrainian and Russian
- COVID-19 Vaccinations: COVID-19: vaccine information for people without an NHS number - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Other health information: child health, adult health and care for elderly, vulnerable or disabled adults.
Work and Benefits
- Find your nearest Jobcentre for advice on benefits and finding work. Jobcentres also offer translation services and can support when starting a benefits claim.
- Start a Universal Credit claim.
- You can get advice and support to apply for benefits and find work from Citizens Advice who can put you in touch with their local advisors.
- Careers advice - job profiles, information and resources | National Careers Service, to book an appointment ask your work coach at the Job center or call 0800 100 900 to book your appointment.
Children and Families
- Childrens Mental health: UK children’s charity Barnardo’s has set up a free helpline, staffed by English, Ukrainian and Russian speakers, to offer support to children and families arriving in the UK from Ukraine. Callers can get help and advice on a range of topics. The helpline operates: Monday to Friday 10am to 8pm, Saturdays 10am to 3pm. Call the free helpline: 0800 148 8586
- Early Help: Supporting Families in the Winchester District - Winchester City Council
- Child Safety: If you are concerned about the welfare of a child, you can report your concerns to Hampshire Children Services Monday to Thursday 8.30am to 5pm Friday 8.30am to 4.30pm, phone 0300 555 1384 At all other times, contact the out-of-hours service, phone 0300 555 1373
- Adult Safety: Hampshire Safeguarding Adults Board (hampshiresab.org.uk
- Ukrainian children will be able to attend school and college while they are in Hampshire. This will be discussed during your home visit. Advice on how to apply to Hampshire schools for a place for your child or children.
- For young people aged 16 to 18 who wish to attend education or training at a local college, you can contact colleges and training providers directly to discuss making an application. If you would like support to apply, email firstname.lastname@example.org. List of colleges and training providers in Hampshire
- For those aged 19 and over, funded English language and adult learning courses are offered by local colleges and Hampshire County Council. Details of courses are available via the National Careers Service.
Accessing Local Facilities
However, if you are looking for additional information, support and local offers, take a look at the City of Sanctuary website that hosts supplementary information, which includes some seasonal offers: How to find English language courses, Family days out, Gym memberships, Social gatherings, and Wellbeing activities.
The Council is a supporter of the Winchester City of Sanctuary and therefore all local offers and additional support over and above those offered directly by the council and Hampshire County Council are referred to on this website. For any enquiries contact us via email on Ukraine@Winchester.gov.uk
Winchester City Council is devoted to helping its residents achieve a healthy body and mind by providing a variety of leisure facilities for all ages to enjoy. Working in partnership with Everyone Active, which manages our leisure centres, the council aims to help more people experience these benefits by supporting them to be more active, more often.
Everyone Active is donating free memberships to Ukrainian families and individuals to help support physical and mental wellbeing and to support them to feel part of our community. To see what is being offered, look here: Ukrainian Refugee Free Membership - Everyone Active
Travel and Transport
- You can get 12 weeks’ free bus travel from your local bus service by completing this form. Your free travel bus pass will cover the routes offered by the main bus company operating in your area. Further information will be provided with your pass. All children under five years of age and adults who are 65 and over are eligible for free bus travel in the UK, so they do not need to be included in your application for a 12-week free bus travel pass. More details on getting a free bus travel pass if you are 65 or over
- Drive Confident: Welcome to the UK - Overview (drivetech.co.uk) Упевнене керування автомобілем. Ласкаво просимо до Сполученого Королівства! - Overview (drivetech.co.uk)
Language and Culture
- If you'd like to know more about the English language or our culture, you may want to watch some of the videos on a YouTube channel called English with Ukrainians.
Support from Winchester City Council
We have created an information guide for our Ukrainian guests. You can find it here:
Community Support for Ukraine (help and advice)
Winchester City Council is moving to a more personalised support service approach since January 2023.
Online one to one drop-in sessions with the Community Liaison Officer (Ukraine) for hosts or guests twice monthly, on a Monday starting from 16 January. If required, translation services are available. These sessions will be offering advice on the best way to access services, cultural awareness, community integration, independent living etc.
These one to one sessions are an opportunity for the host or guest to speak directly to the Liaison Officer in order to be provided with direct support and answers to questions or issues you may have. Please see the following dates to book your slot on our upcoming sessions:
Monthly in person meetings to support independent living.
The next session will take place in March 01st (10.00am-12.00pm), at The United Church, Jewry St, Winchester SO23 8RZ.
These sessions usually run on a Friday morning, once a month, with the aim of helping those who are already living independently or who will be in the near future. These sessions give practical advice and support in order for our guests to continue with their journey to live independently.
For any other queries our dedicated Ukraine team can be contacted via email@example.com.
Independence and Integration Support Fund
The Independence and Integration Support Fund, provided by Government funding and distributed through Hampshire County Council, is targeted at Ukrainians on the Homes for Ukraine visa scheme whose hosts live in the district.
Up to £500 is available to be put towards a specific need that helps Ukrainian individuals with living independently and becoming more of a part of their local communities – whether that’s removing language barriers, improving employability, or providing digital connectivity.
Activities that can be supported through the fund include taking employment qualifications or language courses, purchasing a phone or laptop, or participation in community activities.
More information about the criteria and application process can be found on HFU Independence and Integration Support Fund policies and criteria in English and Ukrainian.
English (pdf, 165kb)
Ukrainian (pdf, 265kb)
To apply please follow this link to an online form:
You can contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or queries about the Fund.
In order to be eligible for consideration, applicants must comply with all the following criteria:
1. Individuals applying for funding must be a Ukrainian on the Homes for Ukraine Scheme whose host lived in the Winchester district upon the guest’s arrival into to the UK.
2. The purpose of the funding must be able to support at least one of our funding themes (see below).
3 This grant is means tested and won’t be granted should the applicant have savings over £6,000.
4. Item(s)/services cannot be applied for or funded retrospectively (applicants must wait for a formal decision and offer of their award before making a puchase).
Individuals applying for funds to support their independence and adjusting to life in the UK should explain how this support contributes towards the following funding themes:
- Removing the language barriers
- Access to transport
- Access to community activities
- Supporting children and young people to adjust to life in the UK
To apply please follow this link to an online form:
You will need to create an account to login to the system. You will then be able to start an application. Please make sure you complete all sections of the application form and upload all the documents requested. Further evidence may be requested to support the application if necessary.
Applications will be approved or declined within 15 working days from the date of submitting the application. The council’s decisions with regards to funding are discretionary and therefore there is no appeals process.
If your application is successful, you will receive an offer letter with further instructions on how we will proceed with payment. Please note we can’t fund retrospectively so avoid purchasing item(s)/services before receiving an offer letter.
If you require any help with completing the form or would like to discuss your application, please contact the Community Liaison Officer for Ukraine: Julia Karabut, email@example.com, Tel: 01962 848061.
Help Without Hosting
We are presently advising all those who wish to support those affected to consider the following:
There are many organisations that you can donate to including direct donations to Ukraine, but we’d like to highlight the Disaster Emergency Committee (DEC) Ukrainian appeal. For those who don’t know about the DEC, it's an umbrella organisation for 15 national charities. The UK Government has committed to match public donations to this appeal pound- for-pound starting with £20 million.
Voices of Children – a Ukrainian charity helps children recover from the impact of war.
Sunflower of Peace – a US based non-profit providing medical aid in Ukraine
United Help Ukraine – provides medical supplies and humanitarian aid.
British-Ukrainian Aid – they provide assistance to vulnerable and disadvantaged people.
UNHCR – has launched an emergency appeal for Ukrainian refugees.
UNICEF Ukraine – is providing an emergency response to children affected by the conflict.
Additional charities you can donate to can be found here.
The Ukrainian Institute of London has more suggestions on where to donate, how to demonstrate support. You can also find information from local Ukrainian news outlets and journalists.
If you would like to help in person, the following organisations are calling for volunteers:
Winchester Ukrainian Cultural Association (WUCA)
Founded in September 2023, The Winchester Ukrainian Cultural Association is a non-profit community group formed with support from Winchester City Council and Community First.
The association aims to provide support and give a voice to Ukrainians living in the district and will host regular events in conjunction with the Ukrainian community.
Support for refugees
City of Sanctuary resources
Winchester City of Sanctuary First Aid partnership info available here.
Hosting guidance resources available here.
Matching services for hosts available here.
Resources for supporting Ukrainian refugees available here.
Access to healthcare for refugees locally available here.
Systemic support for people displaced by war and oppression here. (pdf, 177kb)
Guidance for prospective hosts here. (pdf, 281kb)
Find most up-to-date local English language classes here.
Meeting spaces for refugees here. (Please note this Meeting Space is not provided by Winchester City Council and therefore not subject to our safeguarding guidance).
- Hampshire Wellbeing Services
How do I contact Hampshire County Council to let them know our household details for inspection visits?
We’re collecting information on behalf of the county council and you can help speed up the process here. Simply send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and include the household details as follows:
- Names of all household occupants – including Ukrainian guests and UK residents
- Dates of birth for all household occupants
- Telephone contact numbers for all household occupants
- An email address to contact your household
Your data will be safeguarded in line with GDPR regulations.
Are the property inspection and visa application processes linked?
No – the two processes are entirely separate and delays are not caused by the progress of either process. The visa process us undertaken by the Home Office – this means your local council is unable to speed up the process.
I still have not had my inspection yet – should I be worried?
No, there are a huge number of visits to already underway and more are being scheduled daily. You will be called as soon as the team are able to arrange to carry out the inspection of your home.
How does the DBS check work – locally or nationally?
The DBS process is initiated locally with the home visit from HCC but it then becomes a nationally administered process once the county council officers have initiated it.
I am housing a Ukrainian family, when will they recieve the emergency fund payment to help?
The Ukrainian family will be issued with a £200 pre-loaded payment card at the home visit by the Family Support Service ( HCC). The Ukrainian family has to be present at the visit. HCC will then top the card up to equate to £200 per head, this is done remotely and can a few days after the initial £200 is loaded onto the card.
Contact email@example.com for more information.
HCC full set of FAQs
You can find a set of local FAQs for Hampshire here.