Update for those supporting refugees from Ukraine 27 May 2022
Published on May 31st, 2022 | by Admin170
All information previously shared can be found on our Support for Ukraine webpages – 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Updates to our Support for Ukraine pages since our last email
A reminder that all of the information we have published so far is on our Support for Ukraine webpages and in this email you will only find the latest updates that have become available since our last email. If you have not previously visited our webpages, we would suggest that is the best place to start for information for guests.
Guest arrival payment being increased from £200 to £350 per guest
As you are probably aware, the Government scheme provides an initial £200 payment per guest to help them with essential costs. However, Government guidance allows local authorities to have flexibility in deciding whether more is needed in the first few weeks after a guest arrives. Hosts and guests in South Cambridgeshire have told us that guests are running out of money in the first month and before longer-term arrangements have been established (both Universal Credit and payment from employment can take a number of weeks before an initial payment is made).
In response to this, South Cambridgeshire District Council is adding a further £150 payment to each guest in our district. This means that guests who are already living here and have received a £200 payment will be contacted to confirm arrangements for a £150 top-up payment. Hosts should have received an email from colleagues yesterday and please note that we need guests to complete a short form before we are able to process these payments. Guests who are yet to arrive will be paid the new amount of £350 per guest. If you are a host who has received a link to our application form for the £150 top-up payments, please do not forward this on to others. We are only able to make these payments to eligible guests living in the district of South Cambridgeshire.
Using pre-payment cards
Many guests have received, or will soon receive, a pre-paid card from us with the initial one-off payment to help with essential costs. Please note that we are asking guests to activate their card in a situation where a PIN is needed – for instance in a supermarket – so that it can be used thereafter for contactless payments in places such as on public transport where PIN verification is not always available. We are now sending a letter to all guests who are sent a pre-paid card that sets this out, along with details about how to set up their card, how to access their PIN, and how to check the balance in their account. The letter will be sent in the language guests have indicated is preferred as well as in English. But if hosts could help remind guests to make sure their first transaction is somewhere where PIN verification is available, this would be very helpful.
Update on bus travel for guests form Ukraine
We have been working with Cambridgeshire County Council and bus operator Stagecoach to agree further support for Ukrainian guests. A countywide scheme has been agreed that will see all new arrivals provided with 10 free bus tickets. Each ticket will allow unlimited journeys within Cambridgeshire for one day and are not time limited. We have agreement from the bus operator for the scheme to run until December but the County Council is working through the details with Stagecoach, so please bear with us as this may take a couple of weeks to finalise. Once the scheme is ready, we will contact hosts to ask for help in ensuring that guests are aware of it. The information we send will include how the tickets are accessed. We will be backdating the scheme so any guests who arrived before the scheme launched will still be provided with this support. The tickets are being provided to Cambridgeshire councils at a discounted rate by Stagecoach who are keen to support guests and we are grateful for their support.
Free bicycles for guests from Ukraine
Guests from Ukraine can request a free, good quality, second-hand bicycle as part of a collaboration between the District Council and two local charities – OWL Bikes and Camtrust. Helmets and locks will also be supplied, free of charge. The Council will also provide guests with details of a free Bikeability cycle training course, which will include translation services.
Once a guest applies for a bike and the Council has confirmed that they are eligible, they will be put in touch with the supplier nearest to them so that they can arrange to collect their bicycle. Wherever possible we are asking for hosts to help guests collect bikes, but where no transport is immediately available for hosts to do so, such as if the host family has no car, local volunteers and community groups may be able to assist. The Council can help link hosts and guests with their local community group and District Councillors if needed and guests or hosts can ask for this support. Refer any queries or concerns regarding bicycle collection by emailing: email@example.com
Additional language support offer
We have previously shared offers of English language tuition from Cambridge Regional College, Workers’ Educational Association and Cambridgeshire Skills. Recently, we have added information on our website about another provider, CamRuss, which is supporting Ukrainian guests and hosts in Cambridge and the surrounding area. On the CamRuss website guests can complete a form to request free English language and cultural adaptation sessions.
Cambridge Regional College are keen for guests to know what opportunities there are for a range of post-16 and adult education programmes available from September onwards which includes English language tuition. There is an open day being held on Wednesday 15 June from 4.30pm to 7pm at the Cambridge Campus, King’s Hedges Road, CB4 2QT. More information can also be found by visiting CRC’s open day webpage
Please let us know if you have further queries or concerns regarding access to English language tuition; we will do all we can to give support.
Free School Meals
Attached to this email is an application form that eligible guest families can use to apply for temporary entitlement to Free School meals and Holiday Vouchers. This is different to application forms that are on Cambridgeshire County Council’s Free School Meals webpages; the attached form allows for parents or carers to apply who have submitted a Universal Credit application but who do not yet have a National Insurance (NI) number.
When your guests arrive
Thank you to a current host who shared some insights with us that may be useful for other hosts whose guests are yet to arrive.
“When your guests arrive they might be traumatised and exhausted so, rather than rush them and organising their lives, we wrote a list of essential ‘to dos’ and said to them that they could tell us what they wanted to do and when. Examples included getting SIM cards, bank accounts, applying for universal credit, registering with doctors etc.
“We had an honest conversation and said from the outset that we came from different cultures and backgrounds and so we should be open with each other so that neither of us ever offended or upset the other … and our bond has just become deeper and deeper.
“We had a ‘build your own pizza’ evening where we all made pizzas, it became a competition and we all tasted each other’s. Even not being able to speak English was not a barrier to communication doing that together. It also helps to have Google translate on during meals.”
Her Majesty the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee
As you will be aware, the UK will have a four day weekend next week to mark Her Majesty the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. Your guests may not know what to expect over the four day weekend and may appreciate some background information about the weekend, as well as some help to work out how they can join in with activities happening over the weekend.
The best place to find background information about the Queen’s 70-year reign is on the Royal Family’s Jubilee website. There is also a dedicated Jubilee website, where you can find a map of events and information about how to get involved, including street parties, Big Jubilee Lunches, London’s Trooping the Colour, a Service of Thanksgiving, a concert and pageant. There is also an activity pack for children to help them learn about The Queen’s reign, recipes from well-known celebrities, and a Spotify playlist.