Sponsors information

On behalf Monmouthshire County Council, we would like to express a heartfelt thank you to you and your family for your expression of interest in becoming a sponsor in the Homes for Ukraine Scheme. Your support to those in need symbolises the generosity and good of local communities. Monmouthshire County Council welcome those fleeing conflict. We have supported refugees in the past and will do all we can to support those fleeing the current Ukrainian crisis. This support also extends to you and to members of your Sponsor household. We appreciate sponsors have voluntarily come forward to support new arrivals, and we could not do this without you, we will assist you and your new arrivals as much as possible as we embark on this journey together.

This will provide all the information that you need to access all the support available to you.

If you have any further questions please e-mail us at ukrainesupport@monmouthshire.gov.uk or ring our contact centre on 01633 644644.

Once again, thank you for your kindness and generosity in supporting the Homes for Ukraine Scheme.

Introduction

In the last month, millions of Ukrainians have had their lives turned upside down by an unprovoked conflict. They have seen their homes destroyed, their families torn apart, and their lives shattered.
 
Joining this scheme and coming forward as a sponsor is an extraordinary act of kindness. You are extending the hand of friendship to a stranger in their hour of need. In the weeks and months ahead, you will help individuals and families to find their feet and adapt to life in Wales.

Sanctuary’. As people from Ukraine arrive in Wales we want to ensure they are supported to ensure their safety and sanctuary, and to have access to public services to support them.
 
There are few things in life more difficult than being forced to flee your country and start a new life, especially in situations such as we are witnessing In Ukraine.
 
In supporting someone who has been displaced from their home, it is highly likely there will be a learning curve for both you, and the person and family you are sponsoring. In this guide you should find practical advice and helpful links on how best you can support the person or family you sponsor.

While this guide should be a useful reference point, we know life is not always straightforward. So, if you experience issues with your sponsorship in the months ahead, do not hesitate to tell your local authority who are ready to provide support.
 
By opening your home and by offering your time and generosity, you will be living up to the values we all cherish and become part of a long and rich tradition of extending compassion to those most in need. We hope you find this experience a rewarding one.

Support from Monmouthshire County Council

Government guidelines outline the requirements of local authorities to support sponsors blow sets out what you can expect from your local authority over the next few months.
Your local authority is responsible for support like:

  • Registering children with local schools.
  • Providing advice on family support services, such as help with childcare costs.
  • English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes.
  • Working with local health boards to signpost advice and referral pathways to specialist public health services as appropriate, for example for vaccinations or TB screening.
  • Advice on further support services such as initial stabilisation, counselling and mental health support, adult social care, and children’s services should be provided as needed.
  • Arranging local Jobcentre Plus appointments for benefit assessments, including for emergency payments while any benefits are being arranged.

You should also try to help direct the person or family you are sponsoring to public services like schools and job centres. This guide will give you guidance and practical advice on what to do as well as useful links.

PLEASE BE MINDFUL…

Throughout your journey (supporting new arrivals) it is likely that your guests may divulge sensitive and personal information, we would encourage all sponsors to exercise caution in the sharing of any sensitive/personal or anecdotal information relating to your guests to anybody outside of your immediate household, to this end please me mindful of sharing any details of your guests on social media or via other networks.

Safeguarding

Safeguarding means keeping children and adults safe from abuse or neglect. Local authority social services and the Police have the main responsibility for responding when anyone is concerned that they or someone else is at risk of harm, abuse or neglect. However, they need someone to let them know (report) a safeguarding concern before they can help.

You may see or hear something that makes you worried that the person or family you are sponsoring are at risk of harm, abuse or neglect. Abuse can come in many forms, including physical, emotional, sexual and financial. This could be a worry about the way they treat their children or relatives or the way someone else is treating them. You might also see or hear something that makes you worried that your children, relatives or someone else is at risk because of the behaviour of the person or family you are sponsoring.

The person or family you are sponsoring from Ukraine may also ask for your help in reporting a safeguarding concern.

Asking for help is the right thing to do. Whether you are worried about a child from Ukraine or adult, or about yourself, your family or someone in the community. It is important to share these concerns as soon as you can. If you are worried that someone is at immediate risk of harm, for example if a child or adult from Ukraine goes missing, then you should telephone the Police on 999.

Your local authority will provide you with information about how to contact your local social services if you are worried that someone may be at risk of harm, abuse or neglect. You can also find information on your local authority website by searching for the name of your local authority followed by ‘reporting a child at risk’ or ‘reporting an adult at risk’.

Online training is available that is free to access and can help you to understand more about safeguarding. This is available using Google Chrome web browser. Visit Learning@Wales website: https://learning.wales.nhs.uk/ 

DISCLOSURE & BARRING SERVICE (DBS) CHECKS
All sponsors and all household members aged 16 years and above will require a new DBS check. The local authority will determine which DBS check(s) (enhanced or basic) will be required in line with government guidance. Sponsors will not be charged for these checks. Local authority will be available to support you with your DBS checks and will be on hand to discuss any concerns or queries you may have.

Home Visit

The Council will carry out an initial home visit to check that suitable accommodation is being provided as part of your placement. This home visit is required by the Welsh Government and will be carried out jointly by Environmental Health and Social Services. An officer from Environmental Health Housing will contact you to make an appointment to inspect yourhome, at a time that is convenient to you wherever possible. If you are not an owner occupier i.e. you rent your home, please let the officer know when they contact you. Any officers attending your home will show you Council identification.

Before the inspection, both departments will check your property address against their databases. As you have volunteered to be a host sponsor, we assume that your consent for these checks is given, but please let us know if you are unhappy with this.


Payment Information

The council will provide an initial £200 per person cash payment to new arrivals. We will be in contact to make the necessary arrangements for this to happen. The council will also be responsible for administering a £350 monthly “thank you” payment to you as a host, should you wish to take up this option. The monthly amount is limited to £350 per residential address, irrespective of the number of people being hosted. This payment will only be released upon satisfactory completion of the checks outlined above.

Providing Support

There are several things, in addition to offering accommodation, that you can do to help the person or family you are sponsoring to settle-in.

Collection from Airport/Port:
While you are not required to, you can arrange to collect the person you are sponsoring from the airport or port when they arrive in the UK. If this is not possible, please let them know how best to reach your home from their arrival point. From Sunday 20 March, they will be eligible for a single onward journey via national rail, light rail, bus and coach, free of charge to their final destination. In addition, Transport for Wales (TfW) has established a six-month scheme to enable people from Ukraine to travel free on any TfW services, after showing their passport to conductors and station staff. All information on this, including a journey planner to help them find their way, will be available on:
https://www.nationalrail.co.uk/ukr-travel.aspx

Transport :

The person or family you are sponsoring is unlikely to be familiar with the layout of your local area or how to get around easily. Some practical advice on things like getting to and from your home, where the local shops are, and where to catch buses and trains will go a long way. As a sponsor, you are not expected to provide transport throughout their stay.

Food & Living Expenses:

There is no formal requirement to cover the cost of food and living expenses, but depending on your circumstances, you may well wish to do so. Every person coming to the UK through the scheme will be able to take up a job and apply for benefits, if needed.

Opening a Bank Account

There are a range of banks, and you can choose one that suits you best. There are also online-only providers which you can use. To open a bank account, you will usually need to show a form of identification such as your passport, BRP or a driver’s licence or a recognised identity card as well as proof of your address,such as your tenancy agreement or a gas, electric or phone bill.

You should ask about any charges when you open a bank account. Once you open your account, you will usually be issued with a debit card. Many cards are contactless – some shops will only accept contactless payment as will some transport providers, for example in London – ask your bank about this. You can also arrange for bills to be paid directly from your account using ‘direct debit’. Further information on how to open a bank account is available at:https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/debt-and-money/banking/getting-abank-account

Assisting those who are eligible to access financial assistance

If the person or family members you are sponsoring are old enough to work, they will be able to apply to receive Universal Credit and will be able to apply for advance payments, where eligible. People from Ukraine who are of pensionable age will have access to State Pension Credit and Housing Benefit, provided they meet eligibility criteria. For more information please check out this link:
https://www.understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk/support-for-those-fleeingthe-conflict-in-ukraine/
 
Citizens Advice Cymru can provide advice on welfare benefits. For more information, check the Citizens Advice Cymru website or phone 0800 702 2020. You can call between 9am and 5pm from Monday to Friday.
https://www.sanctuary.gov.wales/ukraine/money

Health & Medical Care
On arrival individuals should be encouraged to register with a GP (doctor) and reminded that health provision is free within the NHS. Following a health needs assessment, appropriate healthcare will be arranged.

Registering at a General Practice Surgery (Health Centre)
In Wales we have a national health services meaning medical care is free for all new arrivals, your health board in Monmouthshire is Aneurin Bevan. Sponsors can help their guests register with your local General Practice – you can do this by attending the practice to complete a new patient form.

Registering at a Dentist
To register for the dentist is slightly different due to NHS waiting lists in local practices. You can call your local health board to find out more. Aneurin Bevan Dental Helpline The contact telephone number for the Aneurin Bevan Dental Helpline is the same for both daytime and evenings/weekends/bank holidays: 01633 744387
Or you can visit http://www.wales.nhs.uk/ourservices/findannhsdentist/ to find an NHS dentist taking on new patients in the area or the closest to your area. All under 18s get dentist appointments and treatments free.

111 – Out of hours GP; the 111 telephone  service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and you can use it for urgent health advice on what services to access or how to manage an illness or condition and to access urgent primary care out of hours (where that service is available in your area).
Including Language Line, Relay 24 and Interpreter now.

999 – should be used in a medical / life threatening emergency.

EDUCATION

How to Enrol Children Into Education

All school age children will need to be registered with a school as soon as possible. All applications for a school place will be processed in accordance with the Council’s published School Admissions Policy and therefore it will not be possible to admit children to a school where the relevant year group is already fully subscribed; however, the Council will work with families to identify suitable alternatives as quickly as possible.

Many sponsors will be hosting school age children. We will be welcoming a large number of pupils who do not have English or Welsh as first language into schools. As a result, the admissions process may take a bit longer than usual as we ensure that we are able to meet the needs of all pupils. Information on applying for a school place is available at https://www.monmouthshire.gov.uk/applying-for-a-school-place/
 
The online school application form is available at https://oneonline.monmouthshire.gov.uk/CitizenPortal_LIVE/en?ReturnUrl=%2FCitizenPortal_LIVE%2F
 
If you have any questions about school applications please call 01633 644508 or e-mail accesstolearning@monmouthshire.gov.uk


SCHOOL TRANSPORT

Free transport is generally restricted to pupils who attend their catchment area school and live the necessary distance from the school. Primary aged pupils (Reception to Year 6) Free transport will be provided if living more than two miles from the catchment school. Secondary aged pupils (Years 7 to 11) Free transport will be provided if living more than 3 miles from the catchment school. Free transport is available to the nearest church school in accordance with the distance criteria mentioned above and in accordance with the criteria that a child’s parents and or their child adheres to the denominational faith of the school in question. The Authority reserves the right, however, to require documentary evidence to be submitted by parents in order to determine entitlement.
Apply for Home to school transport via:https://www.monmouthshire.gov.uk/school-transport/

Concessionary Transport Pupils may be allowed to occupy spare seats on school buses as a temporary concession even though they do not satisfy the criteria referred to above. No charges are currently imposed by the Authority for providing transport in such cases. Concessions may have to be withdrawn at short notice and are not provided on local bus service transport. Concessionary transport applications are required each academic year and applications will be accepted from 1st July for the following academic year. Please note that concessionary transport will not be allocated until mid-September each year.

If you have any queries, please contact a member of the Transport team on 01633 644777 or passengertransportunit@monmouthshire.gov.uk

ADULT EDUCATION ESOL

English for Speakers of Other Languages

Description: These courses meet the needs of people whose first language is other than English. Classes are available for complete beginners and for those who wish to develop their English and learn about life in the UK. Improve confidence in speaking, listening, reading and writing. Learn in small, friendly groups through a variety of engaging activities such as group discussions, language games, puzzles and role play. To enrol in a free ESOL class at your local community hub please e-mail communityed@monmouthshire.gov.uk

Housing

Guidance on accommodation

All accommodation will be different and while there is no set expectation, your accommodation needs to be free from serious health and safety hazards. You should make sure your home is safe for your guests and that it is in a suitable condition. You should also consider how many people you can accommodate so they have sufficient space. Two people should not be in one room unless they are: adult cohabiting partners; a parent and child; two siblings of the same gender if aged over 10; two siblings regardless of gender if aged under 10. Individuals who did not previously know each other should not be given the same room.

Further to this we ask that accommodation:

  • Be kept clean and in a reasonable state.
  • Have adequate kitchen and bathroom space.
  • Have access to drinking water; have a working smoke detector on each floor of the property and other fire safety precautions suitable for the building e.g. fire doors or escape routes as appropriate (further information on making a home safe from fire can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/make-your-home-safe-fromfire.)
  • Have a working carbon monoxide detector in any room containing a solid fuel burning appliance (e.g. a coal fire, wood burning stove); have sufficient heating to keep the property at a comfortable temperature.
  • Have safe gas appliances, fittings and flues and have undertaken a Gas Safety check within the last year (see more information on HSE website).
  • Have safe and working electrics, which a qualified electrician can help with if you are unsure; be almost entirely free of damp or mould.
  • Have doors and windows at entry level that lock properly.
  • Be easy and safe to move around in, without excessively steep staircases that may cause harm.

USEFUL INFORMATION
The official language of Ukraine is Ukrainian.
Here are some basic phrases in Ukrainian that might be handy:
Hi — Привіт /Pryvit/
Hello – Добрий день /Dobryi den’/
Excuse me — Вибачте /vybachte/
How are you? — Як справи? /Yak spravy/
Very good — Дуже добре /Duzhe dobre/
You are welcome (Будь ласка) — /Bud’ laska/
Thanks — Дякую /Dyakuyu/
Goodbye, formally — (До побачення) /Do pobatchennya/

What happens if the sponsorship breaks down?

If for any reason you need to end the sponsorship arrangement early, sponsors should inform the local authority as soon as possible. Further guidance on sharing your home with a lodger can be found on https://www.gov.uk/rent-room-in-your-home/your[1]lodgers-tenancy-type.

A helpline has been launched for people arriving in Wales from Ukraine and for people who are acting as sponsors to provide advice and guidance. For callers in the UK, the number is: Freephone 0808 175 1508; for callers outside the UK, the number is: +44 (0)20 4542 5671.

The helpline will be available from 9am to 5pm, 7 days a week If your housing situation is urgent, you will be referred to our Housing Solutions Service. An urgent situation might include sleeping rough or being under an imminent threat of eviction. The team will then assess your personal circumstances and determine the assistance you may be entitled to receive.

For more information contact Housing Options Team 01633 644644 or HousingOptions@monmouthshire.gov.uk to speak to a duty officer.  Emergency Out of Hours is 01633 644644.

FOODBANKS
Monmouth Baptist Church, 3 Monk Street,
Monmouth, NP25 3LR  info@monmouthdistrict.foodbank.org.uk 
Abergavenny Foodbank, Abergavenny Baptist Church, Frogmore Street, Abergavenny NP7 5AL
info@abergavenny.foodbank.org.uk
Caldicot Foodbank, 35 Sandy Ln, Caldicot NP26 4NA
caldicotfoodbank@yahoo.co.uk
Chepstow foodbank, c/o The Bridge Church, Unit 1a Critchcraft Buildings, Bulwark Industrial Estate, Chepstow NP16 5QZ info@chepstow.foodbank.org.uk

If you need further assistance or you are unsure about anything please contact us at ukrainesupport@monmouthshire.gov.uk or ring our contact centre on 01633 644644. They will ensure your query is directed to the appropriate person.  You can also contact the Welsh Government helpline for hosts on 0808 175 1508