Bridgwater has been incredibly generous in support for Ukraine during the current crisis. Several lorries of supplies have already gone out there. The largest lorry load, arranged by Bridgwater-Polish support group ‘You Are Not Alone’ , filled by generous donations form Bridgwater people and transport bill paid for by Bridgwater Town Council has now reached Lubartow on the Ukrainian-Polish border and the goods are getting to the people who need them. “However, people are asking what more they can do ” says Town Council Leader Brian Smedley. “People are happy to see the Ukraine flag fly from the Town Hall and from the Sedgemoor flagpole and people can also visit the lovely shrine of candles and flags at the war memorial. People are also keen to donate money-which is the best way to get aid directly there. But people very much want to do more and one question is how they can help by hosting Ukrainian refugee families. Now some information has finally been produced and we would like to share it here.”
How to access support if you’re sponsoring a Ukrainian refugee
A new webpage has been set up to provide information and support for Somerset households who have volunteered to sponsor Ukrainian refugees.
Somerset County Council along with Mendip, Sedgemoor, Somerset West and Taunton and South Somerset District Councils, the Somerset NHS Clinical Commissioning Group, Avon and Somerset Police, and local charities and community groups are combining to help both sponsors and refugees.
Those arriving from Ukraine are likely to need access to a range of services – from health and transport to schools and nursery places. It’s a fast-moving situation and the initial priority is to identify local sponsors, carry out checks and help Ukrainian people settle safely in Somerset.
The new webpage can be found at www.somerset.gov.uk/Ukraine. This includes a digital form which should be completed by sponsors who are matched with refugees. This will help local services to carry out the checks sponsors need to safely welcome their guests.
On the webpage you will also find information on other ways Somerset residents can support Ukraine, with links to local and national charities and helplines.
Somerset households who are considering sponsoring a refugee need to initially apply via the national government website, following this process:
- Register your interest at www.gov.uk/homes-for-ukraine
- If you wish to be matched to a Ukrainian individual or family, you can register here .
- The sponsor or the refugee fills out the single visa application form online using both parties’ details. You can find more information here.
- Details on the location of the proposed accommodation from the application is passed to Somerset County Council from the Home Office.
- After the application is submitted, security checks are done on both the sponsor, all other adults in the sponsor’s household, and the refugee.
- To help us carry out the necessary checks and to support the needs of the person or family you are sponsoring, you will need to fill out this form.
- Once the Home Office issues the refugee with a permit to travel, sponsors must support them to co-ordinate their arrival.
- The council provides welcome arrangements for refugees, including things like health and school places and settling people in.