Ukraine: webinar and Facebook group for hosts launched

Council officers worked tirelessly over the Easter weekend on preparations to welcome more Ukranian refugees to the borough, focusing on property checks for hosts whose guests haven’t yet arrived.

Any hosts can contact us on refugee.support@merton.gov.uk to let the council know if guests have arrived so that we can prioritise their home inspection.

Visa approval, which is handled by the Home Office, is not dependent on the home inspections that councils carry out – these can and are taking place after guests have arrived.

Arriving guests on the Homes For Ukraine scheme are continuing to receive welcome payments; the Council continues to lobby for equity of funding from government for those arriving through other routes such as the Friends & Family Visa scheme. The support offered by our voluntary sector partners is open to all refugees and we keep out offer under review..

Any refugees on the Friends & Family scheme suffering hardship can apply to Wimbledon Guild for hardship grants provided by the Council to meet any immediate needs. These are discretionary and based on need and can be up to £200.

Next week, the Council will be holding a webinar for hosts of guests who have already arrived, as well as those who are on their way. The hour-long session will take place on Tuesday 26 April at 7pm and will feature a panel of Council officers and staff from partner organisations answering your questions about any aspect of the process to host refugees and the support available.

To join the webinar, please send your contact details in an email with the subject line titled ‘Hosts Webinar’ to refugee.support@merton.gov.uk and we’ll send you the meeting link, as well as providing details on how you can submit questions to the panel.

Wimbledon Guild has set up a Facebook group for hosts to join so that they have their own a forum where they can support each other and to organise community support for their guests. You can join the group here.

Any borough residents who want to volunteer can help either through the Merton Community Hub or Merton Connected. Volunteers have currently been manning helplines and working with faith organisations and other groups helping to welcome refugees.

For the latest updates, please continue to check our social media accounts (Facebook and Twitter), we will also be publishing stories in our newsroom and will continue to update the FAQs on our Homes for Ukraine webpage. Welcome Packs for guests will be printed and distributed next week.

Contact us at refugee.support@merton.gov.uk with any questions that you have, marking the issue in the subject line, so your enquiry can be directed straight to the right people to assist.

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