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Hertfordshire County Council
Ukraine flag colours (blue and gold)

 

Ukraine support in Hertfordshire

Information for Ukrainian guests in Hertfordshire.

Getting started – if you're new to the Homes for Ukraine scheme

If you're a Ukrainian guest, ask your host to let Hertfordshire County Council know you have arrived. They should email H4Ukraine@hertfordshire.gov.uk and tell us:

  • your full name(s) and dates of birth
  • the date that your visas were issued
  • the date that you arrived at their home.

When we are notified, we’ll make a £200 payment (per person) via email.  These payments will be in the form of Post Office vouchers which don't require a bank account to use. You can visit any Post Office branch to scan the code and receive the cash payment – Find a Post Office.

Next, you need to: 

  1. apply for a biometric residence permit
  2. Find a doctor
  3. Contact us about school places if you have a child with you. See the Education section below.

Week one guidance for Ukrainians arriving in the UK (GOV.UK)

 

Support for hosts


Your hosting relationship guidance (PDF 364KB)

This guidance is to support you with thinking through your approach to sponsorship, whether you're a new host or have been supporting a guest for some time.

Payments to hosts

To supplement your regular government payments, we provide a monthly top-up of £50 per guest, up to a maximum of £200 top-up per month.

Between October 2023 and March 2024, we doubled this top-up, in recognition of increased costs during colder months.

We'll pay you these top-ups automatically, you don't need to submit a claim. They won't affect your entitlement to any benefits.

Your monthly payments during months 1-24 of your guests' stay in the UK

Number of guestsMonthly payments in months 1-12Monthly payments in months 13-24

1

£400

£550

2

£450

£600

3

£500

£650

4+

£550

£700

A guest must stay with you for at least half of a month for you to be eligible for any payments.

These top-up payments are tax-free as long as you and your guests are both approved under the Homes for Ukraine Scheme.

Contact us

If you're struggling with any aspect of hosting, email us at: 

h4ukraine@hertfordshire.gov.uk.

We can run through the support available, including free membership of the Refugee Host Support Scheme.

 

Local groups and support

There is a wide range of support available specifically for guests and hosts in Hertfordshire. A guidance sheet will be available here in early April 2024.

Local groups

Many local groups host regular meet ups and activity sessions. As these can change at short notice, contact the relevant group in your area for up-to-date information.

Broxbourne

 

Dacorum

 

East Herts

 

Hertsmere

 

North Herts

 

St Albans

 

Three Rivers

 

Stevenage

 

Watford

 

Welwyn Hatfield

 

Unpaid carers

You might be an unpaid carer without realising it and may be entitled to additional help and support.

 

LGBTQ+ support

Online LGBTQ+ Group – weekly online zoom meetings provided by Herts Mind Network. A safe space, free from discrimination, where you can share experiences, learn new skills and improve your quality of life.

Transgender and non-binary support group – monthly group meetings, swim sessions and more.

Acceptance UK (Herts) – a Facebook support group and place to chat for transgender young people under 18, their family and friends.

 

Libraries

Libraries – borrow books, eBooks, audiobooks, newspapers, magazines, DVDs and use computers, printers and photocopiers. 

Many of our libraries stock Ukrainian language books and resources.

English language skills

Ways to find English language classes in Hertfordshire:

  • Step2Skills provides adult education in Hertfordshire including English for Speakers of Other Languages (‘ESOL’) –  English and Maths courses. Step2Skills aim to deliver English languages classes where there is a demand, so if you can't find any courses available on their website, email step2skills@hertfordshire.gov.uk.
  • Job Centres in Hertfordshire offer some English learning courses to Ukrainian guests who are claiming benefits. Contact your local Job Centre Plus to find out more. Find your nearest Jobcentre Plus
  • Some local community groups offer English conversation groups and classes. These vary from area to area – contact the groups in your area to see what's available.
  • You may also find some free online English courses, for example ESOL courses – free English lessons online.
  • The STEP Programme (worldjewishrelief.org). This is a free, 12-week online programme for Ukrainians living in the UK on an approved visa scheme. The aim of STEP Ukraine is to help Ukrainians improve their English language skills and gain new employment or employment more in line with their skill level through the provision of English language training and employment support. The STEP Ukraine programme is delivered by World Jewish Relief in partnership with the British Council.

Jobs

Jobcentre Plus

Find your nearest Jobcentre Plus

  • They offer courses for people looking for work. That includes how to write a CV and preparing for interviews.
  • They have details of local employers who have job vacancies and support refugee schemes.
  • People claiming Universal Credit can get up to 85% off their childcare costs.
  • Assistance with travel costs is available for people who do find employment. Temporary bus passes and cheaper travel cards may also be available.
  • If you need to prove your qualifications, you could get a Statement of Comparability, even if the original documentation is not available.

Speak to a Jobcentre Plus adviser for more information.

 

Find a job

Find full or part-time jobs

You can use your Biometric Residence Permit as evidence of your immigration status in the UK, including your right to work.

You can also prove your right to work at www.gov.uk/prove-right-to-work.

If an employer requires a DBS check, you can get a Criminal Record Certificate from Ukraine – Criminal Record Certificate from Ukraine

The Refugee Council can also help you get a job – contact justyna.wajer@refugeecouncil.org.uk or call 07931308165.

 

Setting up your own business

The UK Centre for Professional Qualifications can advise you on working as a professional or setting up your own business.

 

Calculating take home pay

Work out how much salary you take home and how much tax and National Insurance you pay – www.thesalarycalculator.co.uk.

 

Claiming benefits

You may be eligible to claim certain benefits. More about claiming benefits

Translation services are available to help with phone applications – call 0800 328 5644.

Citizens Advice can also assist you in understanding what benefits you may be entitled to claim. Contact their Ukraine support service

Safety and welfare

If a child or adult is in immediate danger, call 999.

If you're concerned about the safety of someone in Hertfordshire, report it at:

 

You can also speak to the Homes for Ukraine team in relation to any welfare concerns – email h4ukraine@hertfordshire.gov.uk or call 01992 555153.

If you're concerned about modern slavery or exploitation, contact the Modern slavery helpline.

Adult social care in Hertfordshire – support for adults with disabilities or health conditions, older people and carers.

More about health and wellbeing support available

Accommodation and moving on

Can local councils provide housing?

One of the main reasons the Homes for Ukraine scheme exists is that councils don't have enough affordable, readily available homes to house people who need it.

There are already extremely long waiting lists. Most councils, including Hertfordshire, will not be able to support Ukrainian arrivals with long-term accommodation once their sponsorships finish.

We encourage guests and sponsors to persist with hosting arrangements or move into independent accommodation privately, wherever possible. 

 

Hosts – what to do if your sponsorship is coming to an end

Your hosting relationship guidance (PDF 364KB)

If you're struggling with any aspect of hosting, email us at h4ukraine@hertfordshire.gov.uk. We can run through the support available, including free membership of the Refugee Host Support Scheme.

You may also wish to consider switching from hosting to a lodging arrangement.

 

Homes for Ukraine: sponsor guidance states that hosts should provide 2 months’ notice to guests when ending hosting arrangements, wherever possible. 

If hosting is finishing, email h4ukraine@hertfordshire.gov.uk with the following information:

  • full name and address of host
  • full names of all guests
  • reason for requesting a re-match – including any issues or concerns
  • date hosting will finish
  • details of education settings that any children attend
  • location of any employment that guests have
  • any other useful information about the guests that will help with re-matching, for example, level of English, employment status, hobbies and interests, any local connections or support networks guests have.

 

Guests – what to do if your sponsorship is coming to an end

If you think that your current sponsorship arrangement may come to an end soon, it's important to start planning, reviewing your options and organising your finances.

A planned and managed move to new accommodation will always be the best option for you but, if you believe that your current hosting arrangement might end before you find alternative accommodation, email h4ukraine@hertfordshire.gov.uk as soon as possible.

 

Moving on from current hosting arrangements

Many Ukrainian guests have now been living in Hertfordshire for at least 6 months and will be looking to the future and their longer-term housing arrangementsThe main options for accommodation beyond your original hosting arrangement are:

  • continue with your original host sponsor
  • find a new host sponsor
  • secure your own private rented accommodation.

There's currently a shortage of affordable housing in Hertfordshire. Most guests will find it difficult to find affordable private rented accommodation where they are currently settled, and this process may take some time.

However, some current sponsorship arrangements may need to come to an end for a variety of reasons. New accommodation will need to be found. We encourage guests and hosts to begin to plan for moving into independent accommodation, even if this will not happen very soon. The more time spent planning and organising, the greater the chances of a smooth transition into independent accommodation when the time comes.

 

Private renting

Even if you are not yet ready to move on from your hosting arrangement, it is a good idea to understand the process so that you can begin to prepare for this situation, if it does arise. 

 

If you are preparing to move into privately rented accommodation, you may wish to apply for Hertfordshire County Council’s Ukraine rent deposit scheme.

This scheme is available to all guests living in Hertfordshire under the Homes for Ukraine scheme who can afford a long-term tenancy but may need help with the initial deposit.

If you move out of sponsored accommodation into privately rented property or a home of your own, you will become liable for paying Council Tax. Ukrainians living in the UK on the Homes for Ukraine visa scheme may be able to claim a discount on this bill. For more details contact your local district and borough housing team or look for more information: Renting private accommodation: Homes for Ukraine - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Lodging arrangements

Under the Homes for Ukraine scheme, hosts can't charge rent and instead receive monthly thank you payments. Some hosts may consider switching to a lodging arrangement where the guest stays in their home but begins to pay rent. In that case, the host no longer receives thank you payments.

Switching to a lodging arrangement is likely to offer sponsors a longer-term and increased income stream. For many guests, this will also be an affordable option as it will either be more affordable than private rented accommodation or, if they get Universal Credit, they would become eligible for housing benefit.

Sponsors and guests should have an open and honest conversation before putting any such arrangement in place.

 

How to find a new sponsor

Some Ukrainian guests will choose to look for a new host sponsor and this process is referred to as ‘re-matching’.

 

Community re-matching

Find out more information about rematching

 

Education

 

When you apply for a school place, ensure that you note on the application that the child is an arrival from Ukraine and what scheme they are under.

You will need to provide:

  • proof of the child’s UK address (an email from your sponsor confirming that the child is living at their address, including full names and address)
  • a copy of the parent and child's entry documentation (copy of visa and Ukraine passport). 

 

Once we receive your application and documents, your child will be allocated a school place within 15-20 school days (depending on availability of places in the area). 

Whilst we are processing your application, you will not receive any updates from us unless there are any queries or issues to discuss. The child should start at the school within 10 school days of being offered the place.

Make sure that where any child has health or special needs that this is indicated on the application. If they had a Ukrainian equivalent of an education, health and care plan, give details of this we will need to ensure our Special Educational Needs team can support children who need specialist placements.

Schools have been asked to place children in a year group where their abilities best fit rather than based on age. This is a decision that the school will be best placed to make.

 

Free school meals

We expect that most of our Ukrainian guest children will be entitled to free school meals when they first arrive in Hertfordshire. This means they will be given a lunchtime meal every day they attend school. This may change if their parent’s work status changes.

 

School uniform

Most schools in the UK have a uniform policy where children must where a specific school uniform when they're at school. Once you have your school place, your school will provide you with further details. Many school uniform items can be bought quite affordably in supermarkets, but certain items e.g. secondary school blazers are more expensive.

 

Education for 16-18 year olds

If your child is 16 or over, they will need to find a sixth form or college. Sixth forms are part of secondary schools for 16-18 year olds. Contact schools direct

 

Childcare for younger children

Most children start full-time school the September following their 4th birthday. The government welcome pack explains the different type of childcare options available for children who are too young to attend school.  Depending on your circumstances and the age of your child you may be entitled to some free childcare.

Hertfordshire childcare finder

 

If your child is under 2,there is no government scheme to assist with the cost of childcare for children under two. However, the Family Centre Service offers support, fun play sessions and a chance to meet new people. 

If your child is 2, you may be eligible for 15 hours of free childcare each week (during term-time). This depends upon your circumstances. Check whether you are eligible online

If your child is 3 or 4, you are entitled to at least 15 hours of free childcare each week (during term-time). There's no application, code or voucher required. Just find a childcare provider and contact them directly about accessing some free childcare with them.


Health

The way you access healthcare and prescription medication in the UK is different to in Ukraine.

Ukrainian residents currently lawfully in the UK are exempt from charges for National Health Service (NHS) treatment in England.

GPs are the main route for general and non-emergency healthcare.

GPs (doctors)

Everyone in the UK needs to be registered with a family doctor. In the UK, this is called your GP (a general practitioner). You need to register before being given an NHS number.

The reception staff at your local GP’s surgery can guide through the registration process, either in person or on the phone. You don't need proof of address, immigration status, ID or an NHS number to register, but it would be helpful to bring any background medical information.

It's really important that you register with a GP as soon as possible after arrival, even if you don't have existing health issues.

It can take some time to get a GP appointment. It may also be necessary to then be referred to a specialist before being given a prescription for medicine.

Don't wait for existing medicine supplies to run low before contacting a GP.

All guests should also receive a health assessment with their GP within 6 months of arrival. Contact your GP if you have not been offered this after 6 months.

About NHS Health Checks

Urgent and emergency medical help

For urgent, but non-emergency advice, phone 111 or visit an urgent care centre.

For emergency situations likely requiring an ambulance, dial 999 or attend an Accident and Emergency (A & E) department at a local hospital. A & E departments in Hertfordshire: 

  • Lister Hospital, Coreys Mill Lane, Stevenage, Hertfordshire, SG1 4AB (01438 314333)
  • Watford General Hospital, Vicarage Road, Watford, Hertfordshire, WD18 0HB (01923 244366).

Pharmacies and medication

In Ukraine, medication is purchased over the counter at pharmacists so it can often be collected without forward planning. The UK system is different and many medicines are not available over the counter without a prescription. 

Most medication for ongoing conditions must be prescribed by a GP or specialist doctor prior to being collected at a pharmacy, which can take time to organise. 

When you collect the prescription, you'll be asked if you're eligible for free prescriptions or if you usually pay. If you must pay the full amount, the current cost of a prescription in England is £9.35. However, you may not have to pay due to age, income or medical exemption.

Who can get free prescriptions (NHS)

 

Pharmacists also offer clinical advice and over-the-counter medicines for minor illnesses such as:

  • coughs
  • colds
  • sore throats
  • stomach trouble
  • aches and pains. 

Seeing a pharmacist is often the quickest way to get professional advice about a minor health concern.

Find a pharmacy (NHS)

Dentists

You can get dental services from the NHS, although not every dentist accepts NHS patients.

Find a dentist (NHS)

About NHS dental charges

Wellbeing support

Flourish is the Hertfordshire mental health and wellbeing support service for all refugees and asylum seekers aged 16+. Flourish can provide advice, information, onward referral and holistic support to those who are experiencing mental ill health, or need support with their mental wellbeing or daily challenges. T: 0203 727 3600 
E: flourish@hertsmindnetwork.org

Where someone needs support with more practical issues a good first point of call is the Hospital & Community Navigation Service

Email: hcnsukraine@herts.help to speak to a Ukrainian speaking team member. 

For any mental health related issues get in contact with any of the services at NHS Hertfordshire (Get Help)

Samaritans is a well-known charity that provides a 24-hour helpline every day of the year for anyone who’s struggling to cope, who needs someone to listen without judgement or pressure or is feeling suicidal.

Contact Samaritans

Bereavement support

Some guests may be struggling with the loss of a loved one. There are bereavement support services in Hertfordshire available to help.

Drug and alcohol support

FRANK is an honest service that provides information about drugs - get friendly, confidential advice.

Spectrum drug and alcohol recovery services – offer ongoing clinical interventions and recovery support for a wide range of lifestyle challenges.

Spectrum families and young people’s service – a free and confidential drug and alcohol service for young people aged under 18, young adults up to the age of 25 and their families in Hertfordshire.

The Living Room – abstinence-based group therapy, support and rehabilitation for drug and other addictions. Treatments follow a structured programme based on the 12-step progress, including peer support.

Sexual health

Contraception (including emergency contraception) and testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections (STI) is free and confidential. In Hertfordshire, services and support are available from:

 

More about sexual health and contraception services in Hertfordshire, including HIV support and sexual assault referral centres.

Different types of contraception (NHS)

Family health

Family centres – here to support children, young people, their parents, families and carers. There’s a range of different support groups, activities and services on offer for children and their families, from pregnancy through to when a child reaches 19.

Health visitors – support for all families with children aged 0-5 and families who are expecting a baby. For families with a child with special educational needs, this support can continue until the child is 6 years old. 

School nursing – when your child starts school at 5 years old, the school nursing service takes over from the health visiting service. They help with physical and mental health for children and young people.

Smoking and weight loss

Healthy Hubs – anyone living in Hertfordshire can visit their local Healthy Hub to talk about things like keeping active, local activities, help to stop smoking, reducing drug use and alcohol intake, ways to lose weight and money advice. 

Stop smoking service – support for up to 12 weeks, advising on nicotine replacement therapy, e-cigarettes and other products as well as support with how to manage cravings.

Weight management – a 12 week free weight management programme for adults with a BMI (Body Mass Index) over 30. Includes face-to-face and digital support.

 

 

Help for Ukrainian guests

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