|The Island stands ready to support those who welcome refugees displaced by the war in Ukraine into their homes, the Isle of Wight Council has pledged.
As more horrifying news emerges of the Russian bombardment of Ukrainian cities, and the refugee crisis as millions of people flee, the government has unveiled its ‘Homes for Ukraine” scheme to pay families to open up their homes to people who have escaped the conflict.
The council is encouraging those who can, to step forward with an offer of accommodation and help in supporting the resettlement of Ukrainian refugees on the Island. The authority is waiting to hear more from government about how it can support communities who wish to offer assistance.
Any willing hosts can now register to take in refugees at https://homesforukraine.campaign.gov.uk
There will be a process of vetting, security checks and matching offers of accommodation against the refugee families and individuals with an expectation of the accommodation being for a minimum of six months.
Hosts will receive a payment of £350 per month.
While precise details of the visa process and sponsorship scheme are awaited, it is clear that under the scheme, Ukrainians who are matched and housed with a UK ‘sponsor’ will be granted leave to remain for three years. They will be able to work, claim benefits and access public services in that time.
All current details about the scheme are available on the government website.
Council leader, Councillor Lora Peacey Wilcox, said the council stood ready to contribute wherever it can.
She said: “The heart-breaking scenes being broadcast from Ukraine every single day has shocked the nation and many people want to share their support to the thousands of people that have fled their homes as the situation continues to escalate.
“We know the Island will extend a warm and generous welcome to displaced Ukrainians and that both as individuals and communities we will do whatever is needed locally to help with this humanitarian crisis.
“Indeed, many have already donated aid to ensure that when our guests do arrive they can be provided with everything they need in order to settle, feel safe and rebuild their lives as best they can.
“The community’s response to the crisis has been absolutely incredible. We’ve seen vehicles stocked with vital supplies leave the Island for Eastern Europe to support those forced to flee their homes, and I’m sure we’ll see many more over the coming weeks and months.
“Working together, and in partnership with other public bodies, charities and organisations, there is much positive work going on as we stand ready to respond in every way we can.”
Announcing the ‘Homes for Ukraine’ scheme, Housing Secretary Michael Gove said that he anticipated tens of thousands of Ukrainians might be taken in by UK families with the first arrivals within a week.
In a later phase of the scheme, organisations such as charities and churches will also be able to sponsor refugees, with details to follow.
There is a further programme through which Ukrainians resident in the UK, or UK residents can take in family members fleeing from Ukraine.
For an overview on ways to help, see: www.gov.uk/government/news/ukraine-what-you-can-do-to-help