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Somerset households invited to offer Homes for Ukraine

More host families are needed in Somerset to help support Ukrainian refugees who have been forced to flee their country.

According to an article from Somerset Council this week, around 700 Ukrainians are still living with hosts in the county. With many hosts approaching the end of their commitment period, some Ukrainian guests need to be matched with a new host so they can continue living in the area they have settled into.

Since the Homes for Ukraine scheme was launched in March 2022, Somerset has welcomed over 1,500 Ukrainians to date, with host families playing a pivotal role in creating a safe environment for guests to re-settle and rebuild their lives in some way, supporting and helping them navigate a new life in the UK.

More than half of the 1,500 Ukrainian guests in the county have moved out of sponsors’ homes, some into private accommodation, and others out of the county for work or back to Ukraine.

Chris Hall, Executive Director of Community Services, explained:
“We are now 500 days into this programme, and many of the guests now need to find a new host and be ‘rematched’, because their original hosts are approaching the end of their commitment.

“Guests who are already living the in the UK and awaiting new hosts, will generally need less support; many will have found work, settled their children into local schools and feel more established.”

Becoming a host (or sponsor) can be hugely rewarding, with the key consideration being the ability to provide a bedroom and a comfortable place to live for a minimum of 6 months.

Julie and John, a Somerset couple who became hosts for 2 Ukrainian families, said: “We have gained so much from the experience; the friendship, the connection with two Ukrainian families we would never had otherwise made. We’ll be friends for life. For us it was an easy decision to make; we knew we had to respond, do something. My advice – if you are able – would be to just do it; it’s not without its challenges but there is a huge amount of support available to you as a host.”

The next step is to register your interest and Somerset Council can provide more information about how hosts and guests are matched, training and support for both parties, checks and visits that form part of the arrangements, thank you payments to hosts and what to do if the relationship breaks down.

Frome Town Council continue to support all displaced people and their host families in the town through the Frome Refugee Support Hub. There are many ways to support refugees beyond being a host – from financial donations to providing employment opportunities. Find out more on our Support for Refugees webpage.

27 July 2023
Last Updated
27 July 2023
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