On Friday 24 February, West Lindsey will stand in solidarity with Ukraine on the first anniversary of the Russian invasion.
Since March last year, 120 Ukrainians have made the district their temporary home under the Homes for Ukraine scheme. The Lincolnshire Resettlement Partnership, comprising of Lincolnshire councils and a range of public sector agencies and charitable sector organisations all working together, has been supporting local communities to offer people from Ukraine the warmest possible welcome to the county.
Nationally, more than 100,000 Ukrainians have arrived in the UK under the Homes for Ukraine scheme since the outbreak of the war and with 1,200 guests, Lincolnshire is second highest in the East Midlands and 19th nationally in terms of number of arrivals by sponsor location.
People arriving under the scheme are able to live and work in the UK for up to three years, and access healthcare, public funds, employment and other support. Now, almost a year since the national sponsorship scheme launched, there are still 350 hosts providing a home to their Ukrainian guests across Lincolnshire. Throughout the county over 70 family groups have successfully made the move from their hosting arrangements into private rental accommodation, and a small number of guests have moved on to other parts of the UK.
Hosts on the scheme initially signed up for six months and whilst many hosting relationships will continue to a year and beyond, the Resettlement Partnership is strongly appealing for new hosts to come forward who may be a suitable match for Ukrainians already settled in the county. They are particularly interested in hearing from people who live within the district’s bigger villages and towns, where there is good access to public transport and other amenities.
Anyone can consider hosting as long as they can offer accommodation for at least six months, and those who are successfully matched to Ukrainian guests are offered a £350 per month ‘thank you’ payment, rising to £500 a month for guests who have been in the country for over a year. Ukrainians already established in Lincolnshire and requiring new hosts will already be living and settled within their local communities and may be in work, with children in school, minimising some of the challenges many new hosts on the scheme initially faced when supporting guests with connecting to services in the UK such as applying for biometric residence permits, accessing local and public services and opening bank accounts.
Deirdre Speed from Morton, Gainsborough is hosting Oleg, Olena and their French bulldog, Juliet. Speaking of her involvement in the scheme, Deirdre said:
“My overriding thought was that this situation could happen to any of us. Having a three bedroomed house and just me living in it, it seemed a no-brainer, plus I knew that my sisters who live locally would help me. It has been wonderful. Hard work, non-stop but fabulous. I have a whole new family for life.”
Cllr Richard Wright, Leader of North Kesteven District Council and Lincolnshire representative on the East Midlands Migration Board, said:
“As we mark one year since Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, an anniversary none of us ever wanted to see, we continue to show our unwavering support and solidarity to Ukrainians in our local community and beyond. Whilst we offer our sincere thanks to everyone who has opened their home to those fleeing the war in Ukraine, we also continue to appeal for new hosts across the county.
“If you or someone you know could offer temporary accommodation to Ukrainians, please contact Lincolnshire County Council’s Homes for Ukraine team for more information.”
Many events are planned throughout Lincolnshire and residents across the county will be showing their support for Ukraine in their local communities.
On social media people across the country will also show their solidarity with Ukraine by sharing photos of Ukrainian flags around the UK to the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office’s Facebook page.
If you think you could commit to hosting, please visit Lincolnshire Connect to Support to find out more and complete Lincolnshire County Council’s hosting expression of interest form.