South Cambs District Council – Update for those supporting refugees from Ukraine – 7 April 2022

Dear hosts, volunteer coordinators and parish council colleagues

Last week we shared the link to our short survey to capture what your community volunteers / groups / organisations are planning as part of the district’s support for hosts and guests. If you haven’t yet completed the survey, we would be grateful if you could complete our survey here.

Hosts will be aware that we have this week been able to start DBS and accommodation checks, as well as capturing information we will need to be able to make the £350 (host) and £200 (guest) payments. We are also working on providing welcome packs for guests – in the meantime you can always find all of the information we have collated so far on our Support for Ukraine webpage. The information in this update only covers new information that we have received / clarified over the past week since our last update.

Looking ahead

We’re also now turning our attention to how we can better support hosts and guests in the slightly longer term, once new arrivals have had a chance to settle in. Hosting someone in your own home for a prolonged period of time has the possibility of being challenging, but we have seen how communities have rallied together to support one another during the pandemic and anticipate similar support being coordinated for hosts and guests.

We plan to share some tools for hosts and community groups in the coming weeks. If you have any suggestions for this toolkit please send these to us. The more input from groups and hosts, the better. You could send us an idea about the support you’d be grateful for as a host. Or you may be a volunteer or run a community group wanting to make an offer of support to host households / guests. This could be anything from a cooked meal to take some pressure off; support for guests who don’t speak much English; or ideas to link local hosts together to build support networks. All ideas of what hosts or guests might need, what groups are thinking of offering, or what businesses or individuals feel may be needed are warmly welcomed. Simply email

Support in Ukrainian

There are a couple of options set out below (repeated from last week) to support guests who don’t speak any English. Please also bear with us as we work over the coming week to collate a pack of information specifically aimed at guests which we will provide in Ukrainian, Russian and Polish (as well as in English). We will let you know when this is available.


Cambridge4Ukraine – волонтерська ініціатива, заснована українською спільнотою в Кембриджі.

Cambridge4Ukraine is a volunteer initiative set up by Ukrainians in Cambridge, which is helping to match sponsors with those fleeing Ukraine as well as providing support to arrivals from Ukraine.

Council translation and interpreting

На цій сторінці ви знайдете корисну інформацію, але якщо вам потрібна будь-яка підтримка, пишіть на мейл або телефонуйте 01954 713 070.

Щоб перекласти іншу інформацію на цій сторінці українською мовою, ви можете використати сайт Google Translate:

  • У вашому браузері, зайдіть на сайт Google Translate
  • Вгорі сторінки, натисніть на ‘Websites’.
  • Ми рекомендуємо залишити мову оригіналу, натиснувши на опцію ‘Detect language’.
  • У полі ‘Website’, введіть адресу сайту (URL)
  • Натисніть ‘Go’.

There is information on this page which should be useful, but if you need any support, you can email or call 01954 713 070.

To translate the rest of the information on this page into Ukrainian, you should be able to use Google Translate:

  • In your browser, go to Google Translate.
  • At the top, click Websites.
  • We recommend setting the original language to ‘Detect language’.
  • In the ‘Website’, enter a URL.
  • Click Go.

Government guidance

A reminder that the Government has created a Welcome Pack for Ukrainians arriving in the UK, which covers what they may need to know in their first few days, getting used to life in the UK including how to find a home, access essential public services, healthcare, find work and childcare and education services.

Via the same link above, the pack can now also be downloaded in Ukrainian or Russian.

Updated Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

Joining the library is free

Colleagues from Cambridgeshire libraries are asking hosts to encourage new arrivals from Ukraine to seek out local libraries as places to connect both locally and with the online community – reminding gusts that it is completely free to join the library, and no proof of address is needed.

Guests will then be able to:

  • Use our study spaces, WiFi, computers and printers
  • Browse books and borrow up to 12 items at a time
  • Read eNewspapers in many languages
  • Come to library events
  • Join a reading group
  • Join free story times and rhyme-times for children and their parents/carers.

People can also join the library online. You can see a flyer with more information – both in English and Ukrainian – attached to this email.

How can new arrivals open a bank account without proof of address?

To open a bank account in the UK, you usually need proof of permanent address. NatWest and RBS are now advising that for arrivals from Ukraine, this requirement for proof of permanent address may be waived – especially where a visa can be presented instead. Other banks are advising that they have colleagues ready to help new arrivals (HSBC and Santander). Other banks may also be able to help new arrivals. There is no expectation of guests to have set up a UK bank account prior to their arrival in the UK, but it would be a good idea to support guests to do this as soon as is appropriate after their arrival, once they are settled in.

How can guests receive their £200 payments if they don’t have a bank account?

We have sourced a provider of pre-paid cards which we will provide to new arrivals who don’t have access to a UK bank account. All hosts who have been matched with guests will receive, within two days of being matched with guests, an email from us requesting that both hosts and guests complete a data capture form. As part of this, guests can indicate that they don’t have a bank account to receive their £200 payments. Those guests who indicate they don’t have a UK bank account will be contacted by our team to arrange giving them a pre-paid card. If you are a host and have an urgent questions about this in the meantime, please contact 

How can guests access English Language tuition?

Cambridge Regional College offers free English lessons for people who don’t speak English as a first language. There are different levels available and new arrivals should check which level is going to be most suitable for them.

A charity called Workers’ Educational Association (WEA) also offers free English lessons for people who don’t speak English as a first language. You can see information in an attached flyer about an information session for Ukrainian arrivals. This is taking place virtually on Tuesday 26 April, from 1pm. The coordinator at WEA speaks Russian and as some Ukrainians speak Russian, is offering to run the session in Russian as well as English. If your guest speaks Russian and you’d like a copy of the leaflet in Russian, please let us know.

And there are a number of English courses available through the Cambridgeshire Skills website – you can search for ‘ESOL’ courses in the search field. For further information email

Support for guests’ health and wellbeing

We know that some of the individuals arriving from Ukraine will be traumatised by recent events and families may need some professional support. We are seeking guidance to support hosts in spotting any signs of PTSD, and also plan from next week to provide suggestions to help with guests’ wellbeing.

A reminder that Barnardo’s has set up a Ukrainian Support Helpline to provide a holistic support service 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. The helpline is open Monday to Friday (10am to 8pm) and Saturday (10am to 3pm). Callers will be able to get help and advice on a range of issues. You can also email the team or find out more on the Barnado’s website.  

If you have any safeguarding concerns about any children, please contact Children’s Services. This could be because you think a child is experiencing, or is at risk of, physical, emotional or sexual abuse, exploitation, extremism or neglect. If at any time you have a concern about the welfare of any vulnerable adults, you can email for advice. In an emergency always dial 999.

Business support for arrivals from Ukraine

A reminder that refugees from Ukraine have immediate eligibility to work in the UK for up to three years. Our Business Support and Development team is asking local businesses to get in touch with colleagues at Jobcentre Plus (JCP) if they are able to offer job opportunities to new arrivals from Ukraine. JCP will coordinate offers and match them to emerging needs as people start to settle in the district. If you, your family or friends are aware of any suitable vacancies please email, and the team will add them to their list.

The Federation of Small Business has published some helpful advice to help employees who may be affected by events in Ukraine.

If a household currently subject to the spare room subsidy offers their spare room, will they no longer be subject to this?

The DWP has confirmed that if a host’s household is already subject to under-occupancy this will not be altered by the presence of a Ukrainian guest, so the under-occupancy will continue to apply. This is because we have been advised that this will not be treated as their main residence which also avoid the application of non-dependent deductions.

Will social housing tenancies be affected?

Anyone who rents their property – whether through a social or private tenancy – should check with their landlord about having non-family members residing with them to ensure this does not put their tenancy at risk.