Homes for Ukraine Scheme frequently asked questions

What our Community Hub team are most often asked about.

The Community Hub team has compiled a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) to support sponsors and their Ukrainian guests.

How do I arrange a school place?

The County Council are keen to ensure that school places are efficiently allocated to children once they have arrived in your home. Our colleagues from the School Admissions Service are working closely with us to coordinate places and liaise with Head Teachers to ensure that a smooth transition can be achieved for all Ukrainian children.

  • You may wish to complete the In Year Application form on behalf of your Ukrainian guests
  • Alternatively, the Ukraine Support Team can complete the school place application on behalf of the family. They can liaise directly with School Admissions colleagues and the school to organise initial visits and so on. This may be done as part of the initial home visit to meet your guest after their arrival.

Please notify the Community Hub when your guests have arrived as school admissions cannot process an application until we have confirmed the child is in the UK:

  • Phone: 033 022 27980 (9.00am - 5.00pm 7 days a week, including bank holidays)

How do I request support for free school meals?

Many guests arriving from Ukraine will be eligible for free school meals (FSMs) based on their financial circumstances. However, they may not immediately have access to a National Insurance number, which is required to complete the application process.

When your guests visit their new school, please do discuss whether a school meal is required so that the school can make suitable arrangements for your guests. The Ukraine Support Team will then liaise directly with the school to ensure that they are reimbursed for the meals provided. We can assist in submitting the FSM application once they have received a National Insurance number.

Is there support available for travel costs?

On arrival in the UK, guests can travel anywhere for free (one-way) to their sponsors home using the national rail network, buses and coaches. You can find out more by visiting GOV.UK.

Many areas in West Sussex are covered by the rail network and local bus routes. If you can, please provide your guests with practical information such as the location of the closest railway station and bus routes.

To welcome all new arrivals to the UK and onto our West Sussex bus services, we are really pleased to be able to offer 12 weeks of free bus travel for your guests. The local bus companies are offering 4 weeks' travel and WSCC are providing an additional 8 weeks.

Bus travel in West Sussex is provided by three main companies:

You can find route information and maps on their websites.

We can offer free travel for only one bus company, so would ask that you choose carefully which company provides the services that you will use.

To apply for this free travel offer, email us, adding ‘Free Bus Travel’ as the subject:

Please provide:

  • the full names of those who require a bus pass
  • their UK address
  • which bus company the application is for.

By sending the email, you are consenting that you are happy for us to pass details to the bus company where necessary. We will then send you the details of how to apply for the pass. Each company has a slightly different process, but this will be explained in the information sent to you.

Where can I find information about work, benefits and how to get a National Insurance number?

Your local Jobcentre Plus will be able to help guests to find out which benefits they can access and apply for local employment opportunities.

It is really important for your guest to register with the Jobcentre as quickly as possible, so it will be very useful if sponsors can help guests with this. It is not necessary to have a bank account in place before applying for Universal Credit. Universal Credit payments will take around 5 weeks to start being paid, and this starts from the date of application.

Completion of a benefits application will trigger the process to provide your guests with a National Insurance number.

You can also find information on the GOV.UK website about applying for a National Insurance number

Ukrainian guests arriving under the Homes for Ukraine Scheme have the right to work as soon they arrive in the UK. They need to be 18 years old to work full time.

Job vacancies can be found on GOV.UK under Find a job. Your guests can also register with recruitment agencies, view online job sites and look in local and national newspapers where jobs are advertised.

Is there support for health care?

Guests can be registered with a GP in the local area where they are staying once they have arrived in your home, and you may wish to help your guests with this.

If you need assistance, or would like us to complete this process, the Ukraine Support Team can do this as part of their visit to your guest at your home.

What mental health support is available?

We recognise that some guests may require mental health assistance and a visit to the GP may be a helpful way of accessing a range of support.

Listed below are a number of services which may be useful:

Barnardo’s - Offer a free Ukrainian support helpline for children and families arriving in the UK from Ukraine. Staffed by English, Ukrainian and Russian speakers, callers can get help and advice on a range of topics.

  • Phone 0800 148 8586 Monday - Friday, 10.00am - 8.00pm, and Saturday 10.00am - 3.00pm.

You can also request support by:

Samaritans - There to listen and help talk through concerns, worries and troubles.

Sussex Mental Healthline - Offer listening support, advice, information and signposting to anyone experiencing difficulties with their mental health 24 hours a day.

Time to Talk counselling service - People can self-refer via the website and translation is available. 

Wellbeing Service - Can help you or your guest find wellbeing information and services through various local organisations. See their website for advice and support on how to make small changes to improve health and wellbeing.

West Sussex Mind - Offer support to both Ukrainians and host families. To find out more:

Will there be financial support?

Once you have notified us that your guests have arrived, we will send a pre-paid card to your home address for your guests. The card will be loaded with £200 per person and can be used in a range of shops or in cash machines (ATMs) to withdraw cash.

As a security precaution, the card needs to be activated before it can be used. So that we can activate the card, once you have received it in the post please email the Community Hub to confirm and include the guest’s full name and date of birth along with the last four digits of the card.

Where can I find information about opening a bank account?

Your guests will need to choose which bank will suit them best. It may be useful to opt for the bank most local to you to provide easy access.

To open a bank account in the UK, your guest will usually need to show proof of ID such as passport, a biometric residency permit, driver’s licence or recognised identity card. Some UK Banks ask for proof of address, although this is not required by law to open a bank account - the Government is working with them to encourage them to relax this requirement. Several UK Banks already have a system for opening accounts where you do not have a permanent UK address, including the digital banks Starling and Monzo.

If your guest requires proof of address to open their bank account, please email us using 'Bank' as the subject heading. Also provide details of the information the bank has requested so that we can prepare a letter:

Further information is available on the Citizens Advice website on how to open a bank account.

Is there support with English language lessons?

Our libraries offer Transparent Language Online, available for free to anyone with a West Sussex library card. You can learn at home, in the library, or on the go. Reading, writing, listening, and speaking activities will help you learn the words and phrases needed to communicate effectively in a foreign language. Visit your local library for more information and to apply for a card.

Working with Sam’s School of English, we are offering 12 weeks free online English courses to our Ukrainian guests with four levels to suit learners from beginner to upper intermediate level. Guests can register interest and find out more by completing our online form.

Where can I find information about the free 'Holiday Activities and Food' programme?

With places in high demand, please encourage your guests to apply as soon as possible for the free Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme sessions.

Places have been made available to children who are of school age under the ‘Homes for Ukraine’ scheme, depending on the circumstances of each family.

To receive a HAF voucher for your guests to claim their free sessions, please email titled 'HAF VOUCHER REQUEST' with the family’s needs, so that the correct allocation of provision can be made.

Last updated:
18 May 2023
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