Support for Ukraine Community 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.

Changes to ‘Thank you’ payments following Government clarification

Over recent months, the Government has provided further clarification on the thank you payments we make to sponsors on their behalf.

The monthly thank you payment is payable to sponsors where their guest/s has/have lived with them for at least 50% of the month. For ease, we will be basing this on 14 days. We wanted to highlight this to hosts as, earlier in the scheme and before further clarification was provided, we had taken a pragmatic view to pay on a pro rata basis when the guest(s) arrive or depart during a calendar month. As the funding which underpins the thank you payments is provided in line with the Government rules, following these clarifications there is not the flexibility for us to make local decisions.

A second recent clarification means that where a guest/s is/are absent from your property for 4 weeks or more, we must pause the thank you payment. Please inform the Council by completing the leavers form to tell us about their time away so we can adjust the payments as necessary. This is the same form for you complete when your guests leave at the end of their stay and do not plan to return.  

The Council’s additional £150 payment, which we have committed to provide for the first 12 months of hosting to recognise the increasing cost of living, is still available. If you have not already opted in, you can do so by completing the form.

Campaign for more Hosts

We are still looking for new potential hosts via our Spare Room campaign which appeals for anyone who would like to get involved to apply to re-match existing guests via the Homes for Ukraine scheme. Hosts receive up to £500 per month as a thank you payment. If you are interested in hosting, or know of someone else who may be interested, please take a look at our website for information and for details of the support available to new hosts. Anyone who can offer help simply needs to text ROOM to 88802.

Please Note: If any Parish Councils, local organisations or individuals have a small space on their roadside verge in a safe and appropriate location and are willing to put up a sign (like those communities put up for village fetes) giving details of our Spare Room campaign, they can be collected from our offices in Cambourne. The A2 signs have a stake attached for pushing into the ground. There is no need to contact us first and the signs can be collected any time between 9am and 4pm Monday to Friday. If you would like to support us but would need to collect signs outside of these times, then please email us on and we will make arrangements with you. We can also supply posters for noticeboards and fliers. Thank you for your support in aiding us to spread the word to help to find accommodation for all our Ukrainian guests.

Returning Guests

If your guests originally left your property but are now wishing to return to you, then please let us know. Notify us on and complete our arrivals form, which can be found here, once your guest/s have arrived.

Hosting Survey

The Council needs to ensure that we have an up-to-date and accurate log of our hosts’ intentions so we can plan our future support for Ukrainian guests accordingly, and this week all hosts should have received an email from us which includes an online survey. The purpose of this survey is so we can understand the likely duration of your hosting agreement and to provide you with a chance to give us some feedback. We appreciate that hosts have now completed several online surveys for us, but these are vital to us in managing this complex project. We would be grateful if you could complete this survey as soon as possible after you receive it.

Employment Survey

Please could you make your guests aware of our Ukrainian Employment/Skills Survey which will help us assess how we can best support guests into suitable employment. Ukrainian refugees are able to work in the UK for up to three years and we are collaborating with local partners, communities, and businesses to ensure we understand the barriers they may face in finding suitable employment.

Online meeting place for young Ukrainians

The Council recently established a Facebook Group for Young Ukrainian guests aged 13-19, however the numbers of young people joining are still quite low.

We are actively exploring the need for a potential WhatsApp Group for the same age group, a place where young people may meet, develop friendships and share information. A Ukrainian Adult would moderate this, making it a safe place.

Please could you encourage any Ukrainian parents staying with you to fill out the form to let us know what they think about it and whether or not their child would be interested in joining and using such a group.

Drama classes for young Ukrainian Guests

Free drama sessions for Ukrainian guest children and young adults aged 9-15 have now started at Cottenham Community Centre.

Running from 3.45-5.15pm, the first session was held last Thursday. The next sessions are scheduled at the same time for Thursdays 19 January and 2 February, with further fortnightly dates be confirmed.

The sessions start off with a fun physical warm-up as a group, followed by a variety of drama activities and games, ranging from word games and facial expressions, to splitting up into different groups or pairs and acting out scenes in a variety of comical or serious situations.

The group is led by Sheila Gosling, a Drama Worker from Cottenham with years of experience with groups of all ages and abilities, and will continue to meet every other week, encouraging different ways of communication, entertainment, and allowing hidden talents to shine. For more information email

Online forum for hosts – 18 January

The next online session from the Association for Family Therapy and Systemic Practice (AFT) – virtual meetings where all current hosts and hosts-to-be can meet with others in their position to share the experiences and challenges of hosting – takes place on 18 January.

The exact content of the session will be decided on the evening by those who come but may include self-care, preparing for your guests to arrive, the challenges and opportunities of hosting, accessing resources in your community, thinking about the impact of trauma on guests who are displaced from home, country and family, and helping with anonymised specific challenges. Sessions are free but hosts will need to register for tickets here

New Year, New You – join in January’s Healthy You Festival

Don’t forget to dip into January’s FREE, month-long online health and wellbeing festival Healthy You Virtual Festival 2023 which still has two and a half weeks to run until 31 January.

We are running this in conjunction with Living Sport and other local city and district councils. All activities are free, online and suitable for beginners, including sessions such as healthy eating workshops; wellbeing during the menopause classes; taster activities ranging from Pilates and Yoga to T’ai Chi and Salsa; strength training for the over 50s; and a chance to try out the exercise referral scheme which supports people with long term health conditions to get active. Pre-register online to receive the full timetable and updates about the festival programme.

Free weekly English classes

In partnership with A Learning Place, the Council is providing free, weekly English classes in the following villages:

Cottenham – Tuesdays 17.30

Sawston – Thursdays 16.15, 17.30 and 18.45

Waterbeach – Wednesdays 16.30 and 17.40

 Adults and young people can enrol as learners; younger children are welcome to come along (toys and activities provided). New learners are always welcome and various levels of English can be accommodated. Please contact Amy on 07753 282967, or complete our short form:

Other English Courses

New in-person ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) courses are also available from the WEA (Workers Educational Association) starting this month. Guests can find out which courses are best for them at an ESOL Skills Check session in-person tomorrow (13 January) at St Andrew’s Street Baptist Church, 40-43 St Andrew’s St, Cambridge, CB2 3AR from 12pm to 3pm. Or they can register online by visiting

Classes will run at the following times:

The WEA is also running two online evening courses. Both courses are now fully subscribed but guests can still add their names to waiting lists to be notified if places become available. See the following links:

Professional Development, Preparation for work: ESOL Skills Check for Evening Classes (Online) (C2229456) (

Professional Development, Preparation for work: ESOL Skills Check for Evening Classes (Online) (C2229446) (

UK Driving Courses for Guests

Guests who want to drive in the UK still have time to apply for the UK Driving Theory for ESOL Learners coursewhich is designed to help them pass the UK driving theory test or, if they already have a licence, to help them understand the rules of driving in the UK. It will run from 16 January to 13 March, 2023, 12pm to 2pm on Mondays and Wednesdays. To enrol for free, quote the course reference C2229100 either online at or by ringing 0300 3033464. Citizenship: UK Driving Theory for ESOL Learners (C2229100) (

Free course on Family Budgeting

An online Family Budgeting course is being delivered in Ukrainian for guest families who would like help in working out their monthly budget and improving their ability to plan ahead financially.

The free monthly course is being delivered by Runway Training and is commissioned by the Combined Authority for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough to deliver free numeracy skills courses. It will cover situations like understanding how to plan each month, how to compare the value of supermarket deals and improving your confidence with numbers. The courses are online but also at some local venues. All learners completing the course will receive a £25 shopping voucher. Email to or call 01732 402 402.

The authentic taste of Ukraine

This Saturday (14 January), a team of enthusiastic volunteer Ukrainian chefs will be offering a taste of delicious food from their country to welcome in the New Year in their homeland. The Malanka Fest, organised by Stanislaw Makarchuk, co-founder of Cambridge4Ukraine, is taking place in central Cambridge on the Ukrainian New Year’s Day, as held in accordance with the Julian calendar.  

The delicious offerings will include Ukraine Borscht (a rich soup made using beetroot to give a distinctive red colour), holubtsi (cabbage rolls stuffed with mince and rice), varenyky (dumplings with sweet and savoury fillings) and rogalyky (pastries) and deruny (potato pancake). The event will also include activities such as clay modelling, master classes in dumpling making and a musical surprise.

Malanka Fest will take place at Downing Place URC, Cambridge CB2 3EL (opposite the side entrance to John Lewis) from 12 noon to 4pm. Free entry. Cash purchases only.


All hosts will receive information from us relating to DBS checks, accommodation checks, £350 monthly host and £350 one-off guest payments from the Government; plus additional ‘opt-in’ payments of £150 per month from this Council which we are paying to hosts in the district to help with extra costs such as rising energy bills. Once hosts have sponsored a guest for one year, their £350 payment from the Government will increase to £500 per month.  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.

I would also like to take this opportunity to send our very best wishes to all our Ukrainian guests and their families who will celebrate the start of a New Year on Saturday in accordance with their culture – З Новим роком вас!


Bill Handley

Lead Cabinet Member for Communities

South Cambridgeshire District Council