Ukraine Update

Dear hosts, volunteer coordinators and parish council colleagues

Welcome to everyone, and especially to new hosts. This regular ‘Support for Ukraine community update’ contains information for hosts in South Cambridgeshire, as well District Councillors, community coordinators and parish council colleagues.Newspreviously shared here can be found on our Support for Ukraine webpage and the Ukrainian Guest information hub which we encourage you to share with your guests who should be able to switch to view in their own language. Please also check-in on the important notes at the bottom of the newsletter.

Our campaign for more Hosts continues

Our ‘Spare Room’ campaign to encourage more local people to join our Homes for Ukraine scheme is continuing. Please help us to spread the word.

The campaign, being run in conjunction with our colleagues at Cambridge City Council, is featuring across our social media channels (Facebook Council Facebook page Twitter LinkedIn), on digital indoor and outdoor signage, in local Sky television ads and in the local press, such as on local television and news stations.

If you are interested in hosting, or know of someone else who may be interested, then please take a look at our website. There is lots of information and support available for new hosts, and videos to watch where you can hear from current hosts and guests: Homes for Ukraine: Rend’s story – YouTube   Homes for Ukraine: Isobel’s story – YouTube   Homes for Ukraine: Amy’s story – YouTube

As the war in Ukraine continues, many of the families currently living with host families in South Cambridgeshire will not yet be able to return to their homeland. Where their current accommodation is no longer available, we are keen to find them alternative hosting close to where they have been living. Anyone who can offer help simply needs to text ROOM to 88802.

Help for refugees aged 15-24 to figure out future work or education opportunities

Form the Future is part of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Region of Learning and offers help to unemployed Ukrainian refugees aged 15 to 24 years old to figure out what to do next in education or employment. 

Examples of the activities available are:

  • Basic skills, such as language and numeracy 
  • Personalised CV and application writing support
  • Work experience
  • Future career path needs assessment
  • Bespoke 1:1 Career Guidance and Mentoring
  • Self-employment and micro-business training
  • Personal development and confidence building activities

Guests should register their interest, or if you have any other questions please call Form the Future on 01223 679876, or email 

New year courses available for ESOL, Community Interpreting and Driving Theory

The WEA (Workers Educational Association) has announced new classes for the New Year which can be signed up to now. They will start in January and will include face to face ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) courses at St Andrew’s Street Baptist Church in Cambridge, as well as evening courses online. Classes in the evenings are a great opportunity for those who are unable to access morning/afternoon classes due to work or other commitments.

From January, WEA will also be offering Level 1 and Level 2 Community Interpreting courses for anyone who speaks more than one language and who is interested in volunteering or working as an interpreter and helping their local community. It is also starting a new UK Driving Theory for ESOL Learners course.

ESOL Skills Check Cambridge

These drop-in sessions allow Ukrainian guests to talk to WEA staff in-person to find the right course for them, to find out about other courses they are interested in and help them to complete a few short tasks to see what would be the best choice for them.

The Skills Check sessions will run on Wednesday January 11 10am – 3pm and Friday January 13 12pm-3pm at St Andrews Street Baptist Church, 40-43 St Andrew’s St, Cambridge CB2 3AR. No registration is required.

The timetable for the new ESOL groups will be: 

ESOL – Entry 1 – Wed & Fri 9:30-11:30

ESOL – Entry 2 – Wed & Fri 12:30-14:30

ESOL – Entry 3/ Level 1 – Wed & Fri 14:45-16:45

ESOL Evening Classes Online

WEA is also starting new ESOL classes online in the evenings from January. Guests who are interested should register at one of the online Zoom Skills Check meetings below on January 12 or 16, 2023. Please register as soon as possible to secure your place via the following links:

The timetable for the new online evening class groups will be: 

Entry 1 Mon and Wed 7pm

Entry 2 Tue and Thu 7pm

Entry 3/Level 1 Wed and Thu 6:30pm

If you are unable to register online, please call on 0300 3033464 quoting the course reference number.

Skills Check – Community Interpreting Level 1 and Level 2 courses

Skills Check Meetings for Community Interpreting courses are Online via Zoom – Dates:

UK Driving Theory for ESOL Learners – Online course

If you don’t have a driving licence this online course will help you pass the theory test. However, if you do have a driving licence from your home country it will help you understand fundamental road rules of driving in the UK. Free to enrol, it will run from January 16 to March 13, 2023, from 12noon to 2pm on Mondays and Wednesdays.

To enrol on the course please quote the course reference C2229100 either online at or by ringing 0300 3033464. Citizenship: UK Driving Theory for ESOL Learners (C2229100) (

Fund-raising for school places

The Stephen Perse Foundation is a family of independent fee-paying schools in Cambridge, Madingley and Saffron Walden which educates boys and girls from the age of one to 18. It has launched a ‘Christmas Challenge’ fundraising page to provide bursaries for a number of children coming to the UK under the Homes for Ukraine scheme to attend its schools. For more information, visit the fundraising page.

Guest families interested in applying for a bursary for their child should visit the Foundation’s website page on Financial Assistance. Additional costs such as transport should be considered before accepting a placement.

Learn to cycle safely on winter roads

The Bikeability sessions currently being run at Cambourne Cricket Pavilion are of real benefit to Ukrainian guests using cycles on our roads, teaching them useful skills to keep them safe especially during dark winter evenings and in wet or icy road conditions. 

As the Government’s national cycle training programme, Bikeability is free-of-charge, but please could we ask guests who are signing up for sessions to let us know if they are then unable to attend by emailing to

There is one remaining session before Christmas, specifically for Ukrainian guests, which can be signed up to online and is being held at Lower Cambourne Cricket Pavilion, Woodfield Lane CB23 6FY, on December 17, running from 9am to 12pm or 12.30pm to 3.30pm.

Guests can still apply for free bikes

Please remind your Ukrainian guests that they can apply for free bikes via the  Council’s three partner charities Owl Bikes, Camtrust and Tag Bikes.

To find out more about the Free Bikes for Ukrainians scheme, see the Local Travel Support section of our Ukrainian Guest Information Hub.  Hosts can apply online on behalf of their guests and the Council will put the applicant in touch with their supplier so they can arrange to collect their bicycle. If bikes are no longer needed, they can be returned to the supplier. Donations of more bicycles will be gratefully received by all three charities, as well as unwanted helmets, spare tyres and parts.

Reminder: Holiday and Food schemes

A reminder that guest families in receipt of income-related free school meals can apply to a Christmas holiday scheme for up to 16 hours per child which will include a meal and snacks daily. The Christmas Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme is being run by Cambridgeshire County Council and funded by the Department for Education. Ukrainian and other refugee families can attend, as well as families struggling financially. Read details about the Christmas programme – click on ‘South Cambridgeshire Schemes’.

Reminder: Small Grants to help reduce social isolation for guests

A number of local groups have been successful in applying for small grants from the Council to help with funding for events which will reduce social isolation for Ukrainian guests who will spend this Christmas away from their homeland and loved ones.

The grants are for £300 per project and successful applicants have included a graduation party for those who have completed ESOL Courses funded by the Council through the CamRuss Society; a Christmas Get Together for Ukrainian families in Abington and similar festive events in Whittlesford, Meldreth and Royston; and a day trip to Thetford Forest for outdoor adventure.

Parish councils, community groups, informal groups or individual hosts are invited to apply with details for projects which will encourage guest families to feel more involved in the local community and life in Britain.. Criteria, guidance and an application form can be found on our website. Or for more information, email

Christmas is coming!

There are lots of fun events going on in the district in the lead-up to the festive season, offering plenty of opportunities for your guests to get out and about to take part in local cultural events and socialise with each other and with local people.

The Council’s visitor information site What’s on during your visit to South Cambridgeshire? ( is a good place to find out what is going on in the district. Upcoming events include the Christmas Market organised in Cambourne this Sunday by South Cambridgeshire District Council.


All hosts will receive information from us relating to DBS checks, accommodation checks, £350 monthly host and £350 one-off guest payments; plus additional ‘opt-in’ payments of £150 per month which we are paying to hosts in the district to help with extra costs such as rising energy bills. For questions not covered in this update or on our Support for Ukraine webpages, please email

Thank you for taking the time to read this latest update. We hope that it is useful for you and your guests, and we thank you for your continued support.


Bill Handley

Lead Cabinet Member for Communities

South Cambridgeshire District Council