Here is our regular ‘Support for Ukraine community update’ containing information for hosts in South Cambridgeshire, as well District Councillors, community coordinators and parish council colleagues.
- Contacting Guests for updated details
- Top tips for those new to hosting
- Free workshops for guests to learn about volunteering
- Reminders: Employment Survey & Free weekly English classes
Contacting Guests for updated details
The Council now needs to contact guests directly about the next phase of their stay in the UK in order to ensure they can continue to access the best level of support.
Our communications on this in the first instance will go to the email addresses provided by guests as part of their visa application, which for some may be the email address of their host if this is what was given in the initial application.
We will, of course, make you aware of any communications that we send out, so that you can support your guests by directing them to check their own emails for the latest messages.
The first of these emails was sent out yesterday (25 January) with a deadline to respond by 10 February 2023. The email asks guests to verify their preferred means of contact by completing a response form. We have translated the email and form into Ukrainian. Please help your guests or complete it on their behalf if you can.
We hope any communications from us to your guests will ensure they feel supported and will supplement the help you continue to give them. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or concerns about this.
Top tips for those new to hosting
Following conversations with hosts and guests, as well as with those hosts who are attending the AFT (Association for Family Therapy and Systemic Practice) online get-together forums, our Ukrainian Welfare Visiting Officer has put together some helpful tips for those who are new to hosting.
- Before your guests arrive, it is good to identify one or two people who can be part of a support team for you and your guests. This would be to support guests with appointments, help with admin, take them out, offer a shopping trip, provide you all with a meal – whatever is needed. This is different from introducing guests to your friends – it’s a group who are identified to guests from the beginning who are there and willing to provide additional support. A Whatsapp group between hosts, guest and supporters can also be helpful.
- The first two weeks with a guest coming from outside the UK can be full on. Set aside some time for admin, or to have support people on hand to help.
- Guests are tired when they first arrive – one thing a day is usually more than enough.
- Check on local communication networks by visiting our website or the HAY website to see if there are any local support groups for Ukrainians. Make contact before your guests arrive to see what’s on offer.
- When they arrive, try a normal family meal on the first day, rather than a special meal (chicken is a common choice). This sets a manageable standard should your guests end up also cooking for you.
- Space and open and honest communication are the things that make placements work. Find frequent times for just being together to enable communication, but also give yourself and them permission to take space from each other.
- Remember, you are not on your own. In addition to other local hosts and groups, there is a whole team at the council, welfare visitors who you will see in the first month, project officers communicating with you about what’s on, and a move-on team for when your arrangement comes to an end.
Free workshops for guests to learn about volunteering
The charity CCVS (Cambridge Council for Voluntary Services) is running FREE Volunteering Workshops for Ukrainian refugees for them to learn how to become a volunteer.
Volunteering in your local community is a great way to make new friends – it can change lives, fight isolation and improve wellbeing, confidence and skills, making our communities better places to live and sometimes even leading to, or helping with, acquiring paid work.
There are four free-to-attend and in-person sessions running on 23 February, 2 March, 9 March and 16 March, from 10am to 1pm, at 16-18 Arbury Court, Cambridge CB4 2JQ. For further information or to register to attend, call 07840989719 or email email@example.com Following the sessions, attendees will be offered 1:1 support to find and apply to the right volunteering opportunities.
Employment Survey: We would be grateful if you 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.
Free weekly English classes: In partnership with A Learning Place, the Council provides free weekly English classes in Cottenham – Tuesdays 17.30; Sawston – Thursdays 16.15, 17.30 & 18.45; and Waterbeach – Wednesdays 16.30 & 17.40.
Adults and young people can enrol as learners; younger children are welcome to come along (toys and activities provided). Contact Amy on 07753 282967, firstname.lastname@example.org or complete our short form.
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 email@example.com
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.
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.
Lead Cabinet Member for Communities
South Cambridgeshire District Council