On the Independence Day of Ukraine – 24th August, Epsom & Ewell Borough Council offered a huge thank you to more than 60 hosts who have welcomed Ukrainian people into their homes as part of the Homes for Ukraine scheme, and asks anyone who is interested in finding out more about becoming a sponsor to get in touch.
The council, in partnership with Epsom & Ewell Refugee Network (EERN), has facilitated more than 120 placements in the borough as part of the Homes for Ukraine scheme since it began last February.
Galyna, who arrived in the UK from Ukraine in May 2022, said: “When I first arrived in the UK I felt really lost, as I didn’t know anybody or how things worked. I was supported by the Homes from Ukraine team at Epsom & Ewell Borough Council soon after arrival.”
Amanda, one of the borough’s valued hosts, said: “Back in March 2022, we signed up for the Homes for Ukraine scheme and had no idea what we had signed up for, it just seemed like the right thing to do!
“We now have our second set of lovely guests, we know a lot more about the history of Eastern Europe, have negotiated government systems and learnt much about ourselves. We have no regrets and feel very proud to be a part of Homes for Ukraine.”
Councillor Clive Woodbridge, Chair of the Community and Wellbeing Committee, said: “I have been overwhelmed by the kindness that people in Epsom & Ewell have shown in welcoming displaced people from Ukraine to our borough.
“Hosts have helped families feel at home in a new place where they may not speak the language, showing them around and helping them feel safe.
“I’d like to say thank you to the many people who have supported efforts to help people in Ukraine, by taking part in the Homes for Ukraine scheme, raising money, or donating money or goods.”
Nicky Marshall, Host Supervisor for EERN, said: “95% of placements work very well. Guest(s) become like members of the family.
“Hosts join the scheme for many different reasons and have fed back that it is enriching and enlightening, giving both parties the chance to learn about a different culture (and sometimes experience a different cuisine!).”
EERN works with Epsom & Ewell Council to support Ukrainians in our borough, providing regular English lessons, helping families navigate school requirements, and aiding people in finding employment, for example putting them in touch with the Epsom & Ewell Employment Hub. EERN also run social events that help Ukrainian guests feel more at home.
Anyone who is interested in finding out about the Homes for Ukraine scheme should email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anyone in the UK who has not been matched with a Ukrainian person or family can record their interest in the scheme, as long as:
· they can offer a spare room or home for at least 6 months
· if not a British citizen, they have leave to remain in the UK for at least 6 months
· they do not have a criminal record.
‘Thank you’ payments: hosts have the option to receive a monthly payment of £350 for up to 12 months, paid in arrears, for as long as they are hosting their guests and the accommodation provided is of a suitable standard. Hosts are eligible for the first monthly payment once the accommodation they are providing has been checked.
Find out more and register interest here: https://www.gov.uk/register-interest-homes-ukraine
Epsom & Ewell Refugee Network is a registered charity, part of Good Company (Surrey). They operate under a service level agreement with Epsom & Ewell Borough Council, supporting Ukrainian families in the borough.
Their website is: https://epsomrefugeenetwork.org/ukraine-support