This page has been created to signpost to the various support groups, organisations and information supporting Ukraine. This is a fast moving situation and we will be updating this page regularly as more information becomes available.
We are currently advocating that anyone who wants to help support the people affected by the Ukraine crisis do so via the routes detailed below.
For up-to-date information on support in Oxfordshire including the Homes for Ukraine scheme and support for guests and sponsors see the Oxfordshire County Council website: https://www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/council/ukraine
Information for those affected and family members
If you are a family member of someone directly affected you can find more information on the links below:
- Support for family members of British nationals in Ukraine, and Ukrainian nationals in Ukraine and the UK
- Information on travel advice to and from Ukraine
- Guidance for family members of British nationals, UK settled persons and certain others to come to or stay in the UK under the Ukraine Family Scheme
Barnardo’s free helpline to support Ukrainian families
Barnardo’s has a Ukrainian Support Helpline to provide a holistic support service. The helpline is available to anyone fleeing the conflict in Ukraine.
Barnardo’s free helpline (0800 148 8586) is staffed by English, Ukrainian and Russian speakers, to offer support to children and families arriving in the UK from Ukraine.
The helpline is open Monday – Friday (10:00am – 8:00pm) and Saturday (10:00am – 3:00pm). Callers will be able to get help and advice on a range of topics.
A dedicated email address firstname.lastname@example.org and webpage have also been set up for those assisting with the Ukraine response: https://www.barnardos.org.uk/what-we-do/helping-families/ukrainian-helpline
How to provide donations
A number of organisations have set up appeals for help for those caught up in this situation. These organisations are providing humanitarian support for people in the Ukraine. We are asking people not to try and send clothing or physical donations and instead provide a financial donation directly to the charities below.
The main appeal being run by the UK’s Disaster Emergency Committee (DEC) is the one the Government is encouraging people to donate to so the funds can be shared across a range of charities. You can donate and find out more about the appeal by visiting the Disaster Emergency Committee website.
There are also other organisations working to support the people of Ukraine, some of which are included in the DEC appeal:
- The British Red Cross - support people in this conflict by supplying shelter, medicines, water, food and clothes
- Unicef - deliver life saving programmes to children along with water to heavily affected areas of war
- The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) - work with local authorities in Ukraine to provide assistance for refugees
- Oxfam - people can donate through the website or in their shops
Please be safe online when donating money to support Ukraine. Ensure that you research any organisation or website that asks for money before submitting your payment details.
Homes for Ukraine
The Government's "Homes for Ukraine" scheme - led by The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities - enables people in the UK to nominate an individual or family to stay with them rent-free, or in another property, for up to 12 months.
Charities, businesses and community groups are able to apply, with households offered a ‘thank you’ payment to help support the refugees.
Checks will be made on all hosts by the Government and Ukrainian applicants will also undergo security checks. Ukrainians welcomed into this scheme will be eligible to work, access state benefits and public services for three years.
More information on local support is published on the Oxfordshire County Council website. The local Oxfordshire councils have worked together to provide support for any refugees (and supporting households) that come to West Oxfordshire via this scheme.
This scheme is currently the only way an individual or community can support a Ukrainian refugee with accommodation and the only way a Ukrainian refugee can enter the country as specified by the Government.
To find out more about the scheme you can visit the links on the Government website:
- How to sponsor Ukrainian refugees and offer them a home in the UK
- Guidance for sponsors
- Welcome guide for Ukrainians arriving in the UK
City of Sanctuary - are an organisation helping to build a more welcoming UK for people forced to flee their homes. They work with individuals, groups and organisations. They are now running virtual events to support the Homes for Ukraine scheme, which are open to all. See more information about City of Sanctuary.
Witney Ukraine Support - a group of individuals and organisations who want to support Ukrainian families arriving in Witney and the surrounding area and their hosts. They hope to create a support network that will help with building community and accessing services. You can donate your time and much needed equipment. See more information about Witney Ukraine Support.
What happens at the end of the sponsorship arrangement?
Until further guidance is provided by national government to help Ukrainian families with their next steps, here are the current options available.
The first step is for the sponsor and guests to discuss the possibility of extending their sponsorship. If it’s not an option for guests to remain with their sponsor, then we can suggest registering for Homeseeker Plus, to go onto the waiting list for social housing. However, there is likely to be a long wait so this may only be a longer term option. All guests on the Homes for Ukraine scheme have eligibility to apply, however there are no special criteria connected to them as refugees. We have very limited availability of social housing in the district and Ukrainian guests would form part of the long waiting list.
Private renting can be explored and guests should contact local rental agencies to find out more. Private rentals can be expensive in this district but Local Housing Allowance (LHA) may be able to support the cost of rent. Here is where you can calculate how many bedrooms you can claim LHA for, and the rate of LHA.
Guests can start to seek a new sponsor for themselves if possible, e.g. through their own connections, local community groups, Reset (a national organisation matching guests to sponsors), or social media. They must let Oxfordshire County Council know if they find a new sponsor and plan to move so that the proper checks can be done. Contact the county council team on: UkraineResponse@oxfordshire.gov.uk
If guests can’t find a new sponsor independently, we will look to rematch them with another sponsor from a bank of people who are interested in sponsoring within the district. The more notice we are given of this, the better as this can take some time. We can't seek rematches outside of the district. Please contact UkraineResponse@oxfordshire.gov.uk if a local rematch is needed.
If someone is at immediate or short term risk of homelessness, they should contact us on Ukraine.Support@westoxon.gov.uk or refer themselves through the at risk self-referral portal on our Homelessness support pages. We will then work with the Housing team to find suitable temporary accommodation while we find a rematch or support them through other homelessness pathways.
Visit the Asylum Welcome website for all further information on support for Ukraine.
If you have any enquiries you can contact us on Ukraine.email@example.com.