South Cambs – update for those supporting refugees from Ukraine 9th June 2022

Dear hosts, volunteer coordinators and parish council colleagues

If this is the first time you are receiving this ‘Support for Ukraine community update’ from us as a host, please note that we send these out on a regular basis. They are issued whenever new and relevant information becomes available to hosts in South Cambridgeshire as well as to District Councillors, community coordinators and parish council colleagues. The idea is to share the latest updates that we have to support for the Homes for Ukraine scheme.

All information previously shared can be found on our Support for Ukraine webpage – where you will also find our ‘Ukrainian Guest information hub’ which we encourage you to share with your guests. The online information hub is our equivalent of a ‘Welcome pack’ for guests (we are sharing information digitally so that we are able to keep our information regularly updated, and guests should be able to switch to view in their own language if they wish).

Please note that in addition to these emails, all hosts will receive information from us directly relating to DBS checks, accommodation checks, £350 monthly host and £350 one-off guest payments; hosts should already have received information from us about this through our welcome email.

For any questions not covered in this e-newsletter or on our Support for Ukraine webpages, please email

Host payments: A reminder

We have recently had a few enquiries about host payments, so thought it would be worth reminding you about how they work. Monthly host payments are paid in arrears during the first week of each month. Where a guest has moved in during the previous month, the £350 payment is calculated on a pro rata basis. If you have any questions about these payments, please just send an email to

Advice and support for guests when they move on from their host’s household

Under the Homes for Ukraine scheme, hosts have committed to providing accommodation for guests for a minimum of six months, but hosts may wish to continue with the arrangement beyond the initial six months if both parties wish to. If hosts do not want to continue the arrangement beyond six months (or at any time after that), they should let their guest(s) know in plenty of time so they can make other arrangements. Hosts should give notice to guests two months before either the end of the first six month period or at any date afterwards).

Guests will have access to public funds and, after leaving your home, will be able to rent a property like anyone else. If they need to, they’ll be able to claim the housing part of Universal Credit or Housing Benefit. The UK Government has useful information on renting property which is available in the How to Rent Guide.

If guests need further support, we can support them to help them find alternative accommodation. We can:

  • Provide advice to help them rent privately
  • Support applications for Universal Credit and other benefits
  • Work with other organisations to give advice and support for tenancies
  • See if any of our private sector self-contained or shared properties are available and a good fit for guests’ needs
  • Give details of our Tenancy Deposit and Rent In Advance schemes. These schemes can help those guests who are not in work or on low incomes to rent privately
  • Consider shared housing and lodging options as an affordable way to find new accommodation
  • Give advice on joining the housing register for social housing. Guests need to be made aware that they should not rely only on council housing as a route to getting accommodation due to high demand and a general lack of social housing
  • We can refer people to Emmaus and other charities who can help with furniture should guests find themselves suitable unfurnished accommodation at the end of the scheme
  • More information can also be found on the homelessness advice pages of our website.

Our housing team advises that:

  • Guests start saving as soon as they are able with a view to being able to pay part or whole of the cost of moving out when the time comes
  • Hosts and guests have open and honest conversations together, particularly if hosts do not wish to continue beyond the first six months. This will give guests the time to consider, with our support, their options.

As a last resort and in the event that all avenues have been unsuccessful and guests have to leave without having somewhere else to go, they are entitled to make a homeless application to the Council. This process is the same for anyone and may not always result in a positive or rapid outcome. Getting in touch with us at the earliest opportunity will give both the Council and the guests more time to consider the options.

Bicycle training for guests

You may have already noted that we are working with two local charities, The Papworth Trust and Camtrust, to offer people who are staying in South Cambridgeshire under the Homes for Ukraine scheme a free bicycle. As part of this initiative, we are also offering guests a free Bikeability cycle training course, which will include a translator. All guests who have requested a bicycle under this scheme, and who have requested a place on one of these courses, have been emailed to confirm that we will be back in touch once the course dates are confirmed. In the meantime, we also want to highlight the useful and free Transport for London online cycle skills course which guests may find beneficial. If you have any questions about our free bicycle scheme, please email

A guide for parents about the education system in England

We have recently added some new guidance to our online Ukrainian Guest Information Hub. This is guidance available from The Bell Foundation for parents on how to get involved in school life and to help their child to learn. There are guides to several useful topics, covering primary and secondary education. These guides are in a number of languages including Ukrainian and Russian.

The WEA – Adult Education

New ESOL courses – Referrals welcome to start courses in September.

The WEA’s (Workers’ Educational Association) offer local ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) courses that teach learners how to speak, listen, read and write in English. Their course in June, which is specifically for Ukrainian refugees, is now fully booked but the WEA is now taking referrals for ESOL courses starting in September. Please direct referrals to

Free Courses starting 10 June: Spaces available now

There are two more adult education courses especially for Ukrainian refugees, aimed at helping them settle in in the UK and prepare them to find a job. These courses are designed for speakers of other languages and, even if their English is very basic, they can still join. The free courses, mentioned below, start on Friday (10 June).

Anyone interested in the courses below can register either online by clicking on the links below, or by calling 0300 303 34 64.

Cambridgeshire – Welcome to the UK C2228910

Start date: 10/06/2022

End date: 22/07/2022

Fridays at 10am via Zoom

This course is designed to help the learners to have a good understanding of British culture, history, traditions, laws, and customs. It will help you to reach this understanding and feel confident about living in the UK. And also, the fundamental principles of British Life, including, democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and the beliefs and participation in community life.

Cambridgeshire – Supporting Employment Opportunities for ESOL Learners C2228911

Start date: 10/06/2022

End date: 22/07/2022

Fridays 12:30 pm via Zoom

The purpose of this course is to support students in successfully gaining a job, progressing in a chosen field, and preparing students for further study. A course is designed to assist and to give confidence to ESOL learners to progress from the course to find Employment or to go into Further Education and also to develop their employment prospects and confidence.

You can also keep up to date with other WEA courses on their website.

Cambridge Russian-Speaking Society – CamRuSS

The key initiatives from the Cambridge Russian-Speaking Society at present are as follows:

  • A helpline to facilitate communication between Ukrainian refugees and their host families, which is 056 0302 5975 – please also see attached pdf
  • English language and cultural adaptation sessions
  • Social meetings.

Further details on the above are available via the Cambridge Russian-Speaking Society website.

Ukrainians Welcome website

You may find it useful to pass on information from the Ukrainians Welcome website. There is a guide to staying safe in the UK. Ukrainians Welcome is a joint initiative of British organisations fighting slavery and promoting human rights. Its aim is to provide useful information on security and life in general for displaced Ukrainians in the UK. The site is funded by the Freedom Fund.

Mobile phones for guests

It is worth remembering that lots of mobile phone companies are offering free SIM cards for mobile phones. Their offers change regularly so please check with phone providers directly. Now that local community networks are established, they may want to support guests; one way that communities may be able to help could be by identifying any old / unused phones which local residents have spare, which could be provided to guests via their hosts.

Event in Swavesey this weekend

Finally, we wanted to let you know about an event in Swavesey on this coming Saturday (12 June) which organisers have asked us to tell you about. The first takes place at 3:30pm at St Andrew’s Church in Swavesey and is an informal social for Ukrainian families and their hosts. The event is part of the ‘Jubilee Sing’ celebration being run by Swavesey Community Choir at the same venue from 4:30pm. Details of both events are in the attached infographics.

That rounds off our latest update. I wish to thank you once again for your continued support.