How to Sponsor Ukrainian Refugees

Our thoughts are with the people of Ukraine at this heartbreaking time and Ely RRC stands ready to do what we can to help. At the moment we are still learning what we can about the sponsorship scheme as more details emerge. Here is what we know so far:

The ‘Homes for Ukraine’ Scheme

If you have accommodation (either a house or room) you would like to offer, you can register your interest with the Government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme. (This is separate to the Ukraine Family Scheme which is specifically for people in the UK with family members from Ukraine).

After you sign up you will receive an email with instructions on how to proceed if you have already identified an individual or family from Ukraine that you’d like to sponsor. If you haven’t identified anyone yet the scheme will match you with someone if your application is successful, however this part of the scheme has only just begun so it may take some time for you to be matched.

Finding Someone to Sponsor

If you don’t know anyone you’d like to sponsor and you’d like to speed up the process, you can register as a host on the Reset charity’s Homes for Ukraine matching service, which is supported by the government’s Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

You can also register as a host on the Ukraine Take Shelter site. It was developed by two Harvard University students to provide a way for refugees to find potential sponsors. Once you register as a host your details will be added to a database that refugees can search. Once you have a match you can then proceed via the government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme. The site EU4UA offers a similar service.

As these are unregulated services please take care and once you have been matched only proceed to sponsor refugees via the official Homes for Ukraine scheme – they will carry out various checks, including safeguarding. Ely RRC is not affiliated with any of these services.

Other Non-Governmental Schemes

Alternatively you can register your accommodation at Room for Refugees, although please note that this is not part of the government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme and therefore does not benefit from the £350 per month ‘thank you’ payments.

You can also register with the Sanctuary Foundation who are working to help scale up and accelerate the government scheme.

Further help

The local Facebook group Ely Sponsors for Ukraine has lots of help and useful information on the process.

Members of Ely RRC are available to help you navigate the government’s schemes. Please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Some local Ukrainians may also be wanting to bring their families over via the family visa scheme and will be looking for accommodation for them. They will likely need more than a single room, but if you have the space to welcome a small family into your home or you have a house to rent in Ely then please get in touch. Please note: where a family is renting an entire house they will be entitled to the usual housing benefit element of Universal Credit so you would receive rent as usual, rather than the government’s £350 a month ‘thank you’ payment.

Petition: Afghan Refugees Welcome in Ely

To everyone who has been asking what they can do to help: Joan Wall will be representing ElyRRC at the next full council meeting (Monday 27th September, 7pm at the Maltings.) She will be giving a short presentation on our personal experiences of working with refugees and why what we do is so important.

Ahead of that meeting please do sign our petition to East Cambridgeshire District Council, and if you are interested and available on 27th, feel free to go to the meeting to show them that Ely residents support welcoming Afghan refugees to the area.

The Afghanistan Crisis

The last few days are black days for humankind and I am sure everyone here is as heartbroken and devastated as we are at all of the news coming from Afghanistan. Thank you to everyone who has reached out to ask how they can help. We will post here and on Facebook when we have more information about what practical help might look like but for now please do sign this petition – the target of just 5000 refugees in year one is far too small:

And do write to your MPs asking them to call on the government to do more:

Petition to restore language support for UK driving test candidates.

Ahmed, the father of one of the families we support is a skilled carpenter and has been driving to work using his International Permit. That has now expired and to continue driving he must take the UK driving test. His English is not yet good enough to tackle the theory test but he could pass it easily with an Arabic voice-over to assist him.

Until 2014, UK driving test candidates could take the driving theory test with translating voice-overs in non-national languages. Following a flawed consultation this facility was withdrawn. The removal of language support for driving tests is impacting on those attempting to settle in the UK and means that with no transport Ahmed has had to quit his job. There will be a big impact in particular on the cohort of 20,000 refugees being brought in by the Government under its ‘Vulnerable Person’s Resettlement Schemes’.

Please sign our petition to get the government to reassess this policy change:

Sign this petition

Refugee Week Quiz Night

Come along to our quiz night! It’s a great opportunity to meet the small working group of ElyRRC, to test your general knowledge and to help raise funds so that we can keep providing support for our two wonderful families! The Facebook event page is here.

Seeking Refuge: An Interactive Journey

Ely RRC invites you to an interactive event to mark the anniversary of the Syrian war.
St Mary’s Church, St Mary’s Street, Ely – 2nd March, 12-4.30pm

Imagine you could walk through a refugee camp in Jordan and experience first-hand what life is like for its inhabitants. Imagine you were faced with deciding the safest way to get your family to safety in a war-torn land.

Ely Refugee Resettlement Campaign will be offering you the opportunity to experience these things yourself on 2nd March in an afternoon of virtual reality events and interactive activities. 

Using an Oculus Go and a Google Cardboard we will be showing two powerful ten-minute films that aim to bring the refugee crisis home to the residents of Ely through immersive story-telling. With refugee poetry, quizzes to test your knowledge, case studies of real-life experiences and activities for the children this will be a thought-provoking and inspirational afternoon.

Poppy Pearce, founder of Ely RRC and co-organiser of the day said “we are very excited about this event. As the Syrian civil war enters its ninth year we felt this was a good time to reflect and understand better what life is like for millions of displaced people.  Advances in virtual reality have really helped humanitarians tell a story that is compelling and provokes genuine empathy.”

Visit our Facebook event page

Acts of Kindness for Refugee Week

Refugee Week (18th-24th June) is celebrating its 20 anniversary, and this year they are asking people to do small acts of kindness to help spread love throughout the community.
There are some suggested actions on our Refugee Week page. From simply writing a letter to one of our families, to reading about the detention centres here in the UK, you don’t have to do much to help make a difference.
Please comment, spread the word and let us know what you chose to do to show that Ely cares!