Update for those supporting refugees from Ukraine – 16 June 2022

Dear hosts, volunteer coordinators and parish council colleagues

If this is the first time you are receiving this ‘Support for Ukraine community update’ from us as a host, please note that we send these out on a regular basis. They are issued whenever new and relevant information becomes available to hosts in South Cambridgeshire as well as to District Councillors, community coordinators and parish council colleagues. The idea is to share the latest updates that we have to support for the Homes for Ukraine scheme.

All information previously shared can be found on our Support for Ukraine webpage – where you will also find our ‘Ukrainian Guest information hub’ which we encourage you to share with your guests. The online information hub is our equivalent of a ‘Welcome pack’ for guests (we are sharing information digitally so that we are able to keep our information regularly updated, and guests should be able to switch to view in their own language if they wish).

Please note that in addition to these emails, all hosts will receive information from us directly relating to DBS checks, accommodation checks, £350 monthly host and £350 one-off guest payments; hosts should already have received information from us about this through our welcome email.

For any questions not covered in this e-newsletter or on our Support for Ukraine webpages, please email duty.communities@scambs.gov.uk

Host workshops: Systemic support for people displaced by war and oppression

As thousands of displaced individuals and families come into this country seeking asylum and refuge from the many war zones and areas of oppression in the world, the Association for Family Therapy (AFT) charity has been developing ways in which it can contribute to the work being done by councils and refugee agencies. It offers workshops to prepare potential host families for the psychological aspects of having guests that are displaced from home, country and family and may be traumatised.

We are pleased to be able to confirm that the AFT will be holding a face-to-face session for South Cambridgeshire hosts in the Council Chamber at South Cambs Hall, Cambourne on Friday 8 July from 7pm to 9pm. They are also holding a virtual session for hosts via Zoom a week later, on Friday 15 July from 6pm to 8pm.

Each workshop will cover areas such as boundaries and house rules, negotiating differences around issues of culture, language, and family style; balancing children’s needs and different parenting styles, talking about difficult stuff, understanding and managing distress and trauma and when and how to seek help.

You can register for the face-to-face event on Friday 8 July now. Please note that spaces on the face-to-face workshop are limited to 10 adult host families, so don’t delay in booking your place. Please only sign-up if you know you can attend.

You can register for the virtual event on Friday 15 July now too. Please note that spaces on the virtual workshop are limited to 20 adult host families, so don’t delay in booking your place. Please only sign-up if you know you can participate.

To register for either event, please email duty.communities@scambs.gov.uk with either ‘AFT face-to-face event’ or ‘AFT virtual event’ as the subject. Within the email, please include the names of the adults (18+) who will be attending, your address and the names of the Ukrainian guests staying with you.

In offering constructive support through workshops the AFT aims not only to prevent breakdown of these hosting arrangements, but also to help them become successful experiences for all concerned. The AFT is made up of registered professionals working in the NHS, Social Services, charities and education with children, adults, older adults and families of all nationalities.

Laptops for guests

We have partnered with the Cambridge Refugee Resettlement Campaign (CRRC) and provided them with funding that will allow them to supply further laptops to Ukrainian guests who have arrived in South Cambridgeshire as part of the Homes for Ukraine programme. Guests can now apply for one of these laptops, for free, and, additionally, we are also looking for residents and businesses to support this initiative by donating laptops. Any devices are acceptable for donation.

The Cambridge Refugee Resettlement Campaign works with Laptops4Learning (L4L) to deliver laptops locally. Laptops4Learning’s TechAidUK solution brings together businesses and charities/organisations to enable sustainable and social good. They take donations of much-needed devices from businesses and repair and refurbish them, making them plug-and-play ready, complete with chargers and software, ready for CRRC to distribute them to Ukrainian families. For both residents and businesses, having tech refurbished for reuse enables you to reach your sustainability goals at this time of climate emergency, saving CO2 emissions, e-waste and the extraction of scarce natural resources.

How guests can apply for a free laptop: CRRC will use our funding to provide laptops, chromebooks, mobile phones and SIM cards to Ukrainians who have arrived in South Cambridgeshire under the Homes for Ukraine and need devices to facilitate access to services, education, learning English, job seeking and communication with family members and friends. To request a laptop, either the guest or their host should complete this Google Form.  Please note that guests should only apply when they arrive in South Cambridgeshire. If the host is applying on behalf of the guest, similarly, they should not apply until their guest has arrived with them. Completed forms are submitted and information provided to CRRC. The information from the form is only available to CRRC’s Ukraine Team admin and a limited number of CRRC Trustees. A designated CRRC trustee looks at each request and assesses it. For example, they will look at the numbers of devices requested in relation to what is already owned, and the size of the family including the ages of the children. If CRRC has questions about the request, one of their Ukraine Team admins will call the designated main contact to discuss.

Once any queries are worked through the request is authorised and is then ready to join the ‘ready for delivery’ list.  CRRC have set themselves the ambitious target of aiming to deliver the requested tech within two weeks of the items being requested (when a form is submitted it automatically generates a time and date stamp). CRRC has recruited and ‘onboarded’ 10 volunteers to undertake deliveries within the county. All volunteers are DBS checked prior to being allowed to have direct contact with families. When items are delivered to the families, we ask the family to sign a receipt which contains the details of the items being provided including make and model and serial numbers of the devices.  Signed receipts are returned to our Team admin and stored as proof of delivery and receipt.

How residents can donate laptops: For individuals wanting to donate laptops, CRRC currently have three pubs where devices can be dropped off. These are The Blue Ball Inn in Grantchester, The Haymakers in Chesterton or the Champion of the Thames in King Street, Cambridge. All laptops supplied would have data erased to the Government standard.

How businesses can donate laptops:  For corporate donations www.Laptops4Learning.co.uk will send their Tech Couriers to the company by prior arrangement. L4L tech couriers will bring the devices back to their repair centre based in Stevenage. The devices will be repaired / refurbished/ securely data erased to HMG InfoSec Standard 5 Enhanced and a certificate of erase provided by serial number for each device. Audits are provided in full showing the devices collected, along with feedback on who received the donations for use in Company newsletters and data for the CSR, sustainability figures on waste are also provided. If you are part of a local business that wants to donate laptops for re-use to those in need or if you have questions and would like information on the scheme please contact sue@laptops4learning.co.uk or Admin_TeamUkraine@cambridgerefugees.org

Free local bus travel for guests

We are now able to give you more precise details of the free local bus travel arrangements for Homes for Ukraine guests. Each guest will receive tickets that entitle them to 10 days of unlimited travel. These will not need to be used in 10 consecutive days in a row. Instead, guests will be provided with 10 separate tickets that they can use on any day that they choose. They will be valid for travel in the Stagecoach Cambridgeshire zone. These will be made available to new and existing guests. The aim is to help guests get around when there are lots of different tasks to do and places to be following their arrival.

From Monday (20 June) when a new guest arrives and we are informed, as well as providing them with their £350 arrival payment, we will also provide guests with their 10 bus tickets.

For guests who are already here – we will be providing you with an update next week as to how they will get their 10 bus tickets. We are just working through how we administer that process. We appreciate that it has taken a little while to get this sorted and thank you for your patience. Please continue to bear with us and note that we are not able to provide further information at this stage.

£350 payment to hosts: A reminder

We continue to receive occasional queries about host payments. As a reminder, monthly host payments are paid in arrears during the first week of each month. Where a guest has moved in during the previous month, the £350 payment is calculated on a pro rata basis. If you have any questions about these payments, please just send an email to ukrainepayments@scambs.gov.uk

Free bikes for guests from Ukraine: An update

You may remember that we recently launched an initiative to offer free bicycles to Homes for Ukraine guests, by teaming-up with two local charities; Owl Bikes (part of the Papworth Trust) and Camtrust. We are pleased that we have had lots of requests for bicycles – a total of 165 applications so far, with each application requesting between one and four bikes. As demand has been high, delivery is taking a little while longer than planned. If you or your guests have already applied, please rest assured that your application has been received and there is no need to apply again. Additionally, unfortunately the Owl Bikes facility was broken into during a recent weekend, which set-back the number of bicycles they have available to distribute a little. Please note that this scheme is only available to guests who have arrived in South Cambridgeshire as part of the Homes for Ukraine scheme.

Residents who may have a spare or not needed bicycle at home are being encouraged to offer it to OWL Bikes or Camtrust as part of the initiative – so the cycles can be refurbished and passed to guests from Ukraine.

Please save the date: Informal in-person get together for Ukraine guests

On Tuesday 28 June from 10am to 1pm, we will be hosting an informal get together for Ukrainian guests at Sawston Library. It will be a free drop-in event for Ukrainian guests to connect, have a bite to eat and get further useful information on what support is available locally. The address of Sawston Library is 41 New Road, Sawston, CB22 3BP. Children will be welcome. Further details will follow in next week’s newsletter.

Updated Government guidance: what Ukrainian guests need to do before they travel to the UK and what to do after they arrive

During the past week, the Government has added a Ukrainian translation to the guidance on what Ukrainian guests need to do before they travel to the UK and what to do after they arrive. The translation is available via buttons in top right of page. We are being encouraged to share this information as appropriate and it would be helpful if you could do the same. It could be particularly useful for hosts to share this link with guests before they arrive. You can get the Ukrainian version of the text by clicking on the top right of the webpage.

Supporting the wellbeing of displaced Ukrainians

Further to the above, we have come across a useful online resource for supporting the wellbeing of displaced Ukrainians that you may find helpful. Designed to help those supporting people affected by the Ukraine crisis, the guidance has been produced to help families create a safe and welcoming environment for displaced Ukrainian people and avoid the potential for further harm. Outlined in the document are some simple dos and don’ts, based on the experiences of other groups of refugees. The guidance highlights how kindness, patience, and empathy will be vital. The guidance also contains further information on assisting displaced Ukrainians to access professional support, including NHS mental health and wider community support services.

Some further news in brief

  • The Odessa Project, set up by the owner of the Willow Tree pub in Bourn, has been established to help Ukrainian guests find employment in the catering industry locally and nationwide.
  • The Besom in Histon and Impington can help with sourcing and supplying furniture, equipment, and household items as well as with other practical hands-on support.
  • Please see the PDF attached to this email update for information, translated into Ukrainian, about the upcoming Swavesey Sustainability Festival which takes place on Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 June. All events are free with lots for families and young children. Swavesey can be reached by the Guided Busway. Please do share this information with guests.

That brings our latest update to a close. Many thanks for taking the time to read this bulletin, and my thanks once more for your continued support.

Bill Handley

Lead Cabinet Member for Communities

South Cambridgeshire District Council