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Published: Friday 6 May 2022

 Responding to refugees arriving in Kensington and Chelsea from Ukraine

The war in the Ukraine has caused millions of people to be displaced. Alongside responses from many other countries, the Government has set up the Homes for Ukraine scheme to support arrivals in the UK. We know that there has been a generous response to this scheme from residents in Kensington and Chelsea, with significant numbers of people volunteering to host individuals or a family into their home.
The Council has a particular role as part of the Homes for Ukraine scheme which includes:

  • to carry out checks on accommodation being provided
  • providing welfare checks for families and individuals arriving from Ukraine
  • supporting access to education for children and young people
  • wider signposting to support services where this is required

Please note that the Council does not process or make decisions in relation to visas. This is a role performed by central Government.

Homes for Ukraine Scheme –  Information for Sponsors
If you are interested in offering a home to people fleeing the Ukraine, you can do so via the Visit the  government’s  Homes for Ukraine website: https://www.gov.uk/register-interest-homes-ukraine. This will lead to central Government registering your contact and enabling initial checks to be carried out on you as a potential “sponsor”. You will need to identify a named family or individual fleeing the Ukraine to progress your application.
Alternatively, if you have a family member fleeing Ukraine you need to apply for the Ukraine Family Scheme visa instead (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/apply-for-a-ukraine-family-scheme-visa).
If you need advice or support with finding a match with a family or individual fleeing the Ukraine, there are a number of organisations which can advise and support with this. These include:
•    Reset (https://www.homesforukraine.org.uk/)
•    Refugees at Home (https://www.refugeesathome.org/)
•    Room for Refugees (https://www.roomforrefugees.com/)
•    Shelter 4 Ukraine (https://www.shelter4ua.com/ua)

 

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Once you have made a link with a family or individual with the intention of providing them with a home, you are advised to find ways to contact them, so you are aware of when and where they are likely to arrive in the UK.
There are a number of free transport opportunities available to refugees as they arrive, for example:
•    Transport for London (TfL) is offering Ukrainian refugees free travel on all services for up to 48 hours after arriving in the UK. New arrivals will need to show a Ukrainian passport and a boarding pass or ticket showing their arrival into the UK to qualify.
•    Free onward travel has been made available for Ukrainian refugees on the national rail network. Again, people will need to show a Ukrainian passport and boarding pass or ticket, with a period of up to 48 hours to travel to their destination following arrival in Britain.

Homes for Ukraine Scheme - Local support and services
We are coordinating a range of support for new arrivals from the Ukraine and their sponsors where it is needed. With our partners, we will be aiming to make contact with and visit all sponsors when we are notified through the Homes for Ukraine scheme that local new arrivals from Ukraine have visas and will be hosted at addresses in the borough.
If you know when the Ukrainian family will be arriving at your home, please let us know by emailing ukraine@rbkc.gov.uk We will then make contact with you to organise an initial visit to complete the checks we are expected to make as outlined in the Government guidance. This will include:
•    Viewing the accommodation where the refugees will be living to check it is suitable and safe
•    A check on the welfare of the newly arrived family or individual.
•    Arranging for the completion of a DBS (Data and Barring Service) check for all adults in the sponsor household. Sponsors will be required to complete an Enhanced DBS check if they have agreed for children or a vulnerable adult to stay with them.
•    Where we have confirmed that accommodation being provided is suitable, we will also gather financial details of the sponsor household so we can process the “thank you” payments being made available through the Homes for Ukraine scheme.
•    There may be a need for us to make further contact with sponsor households to confirm additional information we have been tasked to gather.

More details of Government expectations of sponsors can be found here:
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/homes-for-ukraine-sponsor-guidance

An additional purpose for our visit is to consider any particular problems that the newly arrived families or individuals may be experiencing and to provide information or support with getting access to any additional services that may help. While we aim to arrange visits and carry out checks in good time, the need to do this should not delay access by families and individuals to accommodation
Additional support and information for families and individuals from Ukraine
We are working closely with Support Ukraine Coordination Hub, who have longstanding links with London’s Ukrainian community and part of the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain (AUGB). They are offering support to all refugees including law surgeries and activities for children. The Hub also provides a supplementary Saturday school for Ukrainian children, and we are working with teachers in the school to ensure that all refugee children can access this.
The Support Ukraine Coordination Hub can be contacted on 020 3034 2060.
Education
Where newly arrived families have children, we are keen to assist with getting access to school placements where this is required.  Applications for school places are referred to as ‘in-year’ and can be made through the Council’s Admissions team. The team can advise on school place availability and how to apply.
If you want to speak to the team directly, the telephone numbers are: 020 7745 6432 or 030 7745 6433; or you can email School.admissions@rbkc.gov.uk

Families with children who are under 5
Support is available for families who need a place in early years provision or nurseries for children aged 2, 3 or 4 years of age. Parents and carers can contact the funding team who will be able to support them to find a suitable placement in one of our early years settings.
The contact details are as follows:
Email:  FIS@rbkc.gov.uk
Tel: 07814 804 262 or 07739 316132  
Health
All families and individuals arriving in the UK should register with an NHS doctor (known as a GP) for everyday health issues. NHS services including hospitals is free. Newly arrived families may be asked to show their passports or Biometric Residence Permit but are not expected to pay the immigration health surcharge.
Libraries and Internet access
Kensington and Chelsea has library facilities at different locations across the borough. Newly arrived families and individuals will be able to register to use the services available including access to the internet. Further information can be found here:
RBKC: https://webtest.rbkc.gov.uk/libraries-0
Refugees arriving at Victoria coach station and Victoria train station
We are working with managers of both stations to provide information and assistance to help Ukrainian refugees to get to their planned destinations should they arrive through either of these key transport hubs.
Safeguarding concerns
Most Children arriving in the UK from Ukraine are expected to be in the care of a parent or family member. If children are identified who are not in the care of a parent or appropriate adult, please do make a referral to the Local Authority (contact details below).  

Consideration also needs to be given to the needs of vulnerable adults who may need additional support. in these circumstances please also contact the Local Authority.

If you are worried that someone is in immediate danger please call 999.
Key contacts for the Local Authority:
During office hours (weekdays 9am-5pm) Assessment and Access Team - 020 7361 3013
Out of hours (Daily 5pm to 9am, plus 24 hours Bank Holiday and Weekends) Emergency Duty Team – 020 7373 2227
Future plans

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We will continue to work with Government officials and London Councils to better understand the process for supporting Ukrainian families or individual where placements with friends, families or sponsors need to end before the 6 month period specified in the registration process.
We will continuously review and develop our response as circumstances change.
For further enquiries, please email ukraine@rbkc.gov.uk

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