Following a session facilitated by the Empowering Communities Partnership in July 2022 with VCSE colleagues around the Homes for Ukraine Scheme, Norfolk County Council (NCC) have offered VCSE organisations the opportunity to develop proposals to meet any emerging or identified needs they are aware of or that help to tackle pressures on services. This is in recognition of the fact that Norfolk has a long experience of welcoming asylum seekers and refugees, and that support organisations within the VCSE sector already have experience and expertise in providing support to refugees in Norfolk.
VCSE organisations are invited to send a brief outline to VCSE@norfolk.gov.uk of how they could meet identified support needs of Ukrainians in Norfolk. VCSEs can also contact firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss this opportunity further.
Further information regarding the Homes for Ukraine scheme can be found in this article along with relevant information and resources shared during the session. Information regarding events, activities or services provided by the VCSE sector that may be of interest to sponsors/hosts or guests within the Homes for Ukraine scheme, can be sent to email@example.com for potential inclusion in regular communications from NCC to sponsors/hosts and guests.
Updates from NCC on the Homes for Ukraine (HFU) scheme
- So far, we have welcomed over 880 Ukrainians to Norfolk through the Homes for Ukraine scheme, which is over two-thirds of the 1,200 guests that we are currently expecting in the county. Hosts and subsequently sponsors predominately in rural districts such as South Norfolk.
- At the end of June 2022, the Government opened up the HFU scheme to allow unaccompanied minors to travel to live with a relative or in some exceptional circumstances close family friends raising additional safeguarding needs.
- September 2022 marks six months since the scheme was launched with sponsors/hosts asked to house guests for at least six months meaning there is increasing uncertainty as to whether hosts will wish to continue their offer. Alongside this many guests will be seeking to move on to longer term accommodation as they become more independent form their hosts.
- As time moves on some relationships are irretrievably breaking down; significant work going into swiftly and safely re-matching guests formally as soon as possible, avoiding homelessness and temporary housing demand. Evidence has shown that those most in need of support are those arriving outside of the HFU scheme.
- There are issues around housing shortages (current housing pressure being caused by relationship breakdown) and the housing element of Universal Credit not being in line with private rental costs. As well as problems around privately organised re-matches once guests arrive which means they leave the scheme and are not entitled to associated payments as well as increasing risks around homelessness.
Useful Information and Resources
- Norwich Centre specialises in person-centred counselling (to individuals, groups and organisations). Andrea Rippon is an expert around relationships – offers individual and group coaching to people who want a successful career and a happy family. There is also the Trauma Foundation and NCC Adult Learning Courses (Ukraine) and Armine Nikoghosyan (cultural sensitivities training)
- Citizens Advice Chances Advocates have set up a Ukrainian outreach group at the Abbey Neighbourhood Centre, Thetford.
- The Benjamin Foundation are opening an accommodation service in King’s Lynn in partnership with Saffron Housing/BCKLWN/PFAT (2 families or around 6 individuals). Referrals via People From Abroad team.
- Great Yarmouth Drop Ins on Mon and Wed in the library are still busy with new arrivals as well as people who have been here for a while looking for housing, Immigration Advice etc
- Globally Onwards is offering employment support for highly skilled refugees.
- A range of services are being offered by the Welcome Centre at the KLWNBC from housing to benefits, employment and schools which can also be accessed at other community drop in events across Norfolk. Further information regarding other community help events is available here.