Cheshire East support for Ukrainian Crisis

National government has two main schemes to support Ukrainian nationals escaping the war in Ukraine - the Ukrainian Family Scheme and Homes for Ukraine.

This page can be translated into Ukrainian, or other languages – use the ‘listen and translate’ link at the top of the page. 

The council has a key role in supporting the Homes for Ukraine scheme in Cheshire East. This is a sponsorship route to allow Ukrainians to join sponsors in the UK to live.

In the first phase of the scheme, the Ukrainian ‘guest’ and sponsor must be known to each other. They do not have to be family members (family members are covered by the Ukrainian Family scheme, see below). They could be friends, work colleagues, pen pals, or have been introduced via a charity or other organisation.

The second phase of the Homes for Ukraine scheme matches sponsors and Ukrainian refugees who are not known to each other. The government has announced four accredited organisations responsible for matching and published advice for charities, businesses and faith and community groups that may wish to facilitate matches.

Government/DLUHC has outlined ten key responsibilities for councils under the Homes for Ukraine scheme:

1. Initial reception for guest and sponsor

2. Access to data

3. Safeguarding checks – inc DBS checks for sponsors

4. Interim payments for guests (ahead of work / benefits)

5. Education / early years provision

6. Local service referrals (Public health, mental health, voluntary, community and faith sector)

7. Work and benefits

8. Homelessness/housing support in event of placement ending/breakdown

9. Community integration

10. Managing sponsor ‘thank you’ payment

Timescales

(These timings should be taken as a guide only.  Actual timescales may vary based on individual circumstances.)

  • DBS checks for sponsor households will generally take around 10 working days to complete.
  • Housing inspections will be arranged as soon as possible following initial contact between sponsor household and the council.  However, this depends on the number of inspections required at any given time.  It may take a few weeks for the inspection to be carried out.
  • £350 ‘thank you’ monthly payment to sponsors will begin once the DBS checks and house inspection has been approved and the guests have arrived.
  • £200 ‘welcome’ payment to guests will be paid on arrival and initial contact is made by the council.
  • School applications usually take up to 15 school days to process.  Where an application is referred to a Fair Access Panel then it can take up to 20 school days.

If you would like to register your interest as a sponsor, you can do this on the government’s website -  Homes for Ukraine - record your interest - GOV.UK 

Communication with your guest - English Unlocked Communications Training has been supporting the Ukraine crisis by offering ‘How to speak in clear and simple English to the refugee in your home’ courses for sponsors.

English Unlocked supports the refugee crisis -  Eventbrite

Our Skills and Lifelong Learning team runs classes for non-English speakers aged 19 years and over to gain accredited qualifications in English for speakers of another language through Lifelong Learning.

Homes for Ukraine sponsor toolkit - Reset Communities and Refugees (resetuk.org).

How the NHS works, a guide for migrants

More information about applying for school places is available under information for applying for schools drop down.

You may also find the information under information for Ukrainian refugees useful.

Under the council’s statutory duty to promote the welfare of adults and children at risk, the council is required to check all accommodation being offered under the Homes for Ukraine Scheme to ensure it is safe and appropriate for the guests.

The government has already advised that sponsors should be committed to providing accommodation for at least 6 months, although the thank you payment will be available for up to 12 months, whilst the sponsor continues to sponsor a guest.

The accommodation provided for guests should be safe, heated, and free from health hazards, and will give your guests adequate access to bathroom and kitchen facilities. The accommodation should also provide your guests with privacy, for which a bed in a shared space, such as a sofa bed in a living room, would not be an appropriate offer of accommodation for 6 months or longer.

Furthermore, the Government has also advised that accommodation:

  • be kept clean and in a reasonable state
  • have adequate kitchen and bathroom space
  • have access to drinking water
  • have a working smoke detector on each floor of the property and other fire safety precautions suitable for the building e.g. fire doors or escape routes as appropriate (further information on making a home safe from fire)
  • have a working carbon monoxide detector in any room containing a solid fuel burning appliance (e.g. a coal fire, wood burning stove)
  • have sufficient heating to keep the property at a comfortable temperature;
  • have safe gas appliances, fittings and flues and have undertaken a Gas Safety check within the last year (more information on gov.uk)
  • have safe and working electrics, which a qualified electrician can help with if you are unsure
  • be almost entirely free of damp or mould
  • have doors and windows at entry level that lock properly
  • be easy and safe to move around in, without excessively steep staircases that may cause harm

Overcrowding and Space Standards

Sponsors should also consider how many guests they can accommodate so they have sufficient space. Two people should not be allowed to sleep in one room unless they are: adult cohabiting partners, a parent and child, two siblings of the same gender if aged over 10 or two siblings regardless of gender if aged under 10. Individuals who didn’t previously know each other should not be given the same room to sleep in.

When council officers carry out their check of the accommodation, legislation standards typically used in regulating rental properties, will largely be used to assess whether the accommodation being offered is suitable and appropriate for the guests and whether any overcrowding would exist or be created as a result of your guest staying.  The following are minimum room floor areas that our officers will be mindful of when assessing rooms suitable for sleeping purposes:

Rooms measuring:

  • less than 4.65m2 are not suitable for sleeping purposes
  • between 4.65m2 and 6.50m2 are suitable for a child under 10 years of age
  • between 6.51m2 and 8.36m2 are suitable for 1 adult person
  • between 8.37m2 and 10.22m2 is suitable for sharing with 1 adult person a child under 10 years of age
  • Larger than 10.22m2 is suitable for 2 adult cohabiting partners to share

Since the accommodation being offered is not subject to the usual landlord/tenant legislative requirements, there is a degree of flexibility for councils to accept lower standards and sizes of accommodation than that which would be accepted in the private rental sector. Nevertheless, we are still required to ensure that accommodation is suitable and provides a safe and healthy environment for the guests and for the duration of their stay.

Whilst guests may accept living in confined conditions for a short period time without experiencing or it causing them harm, evidence suggests that overcrowding is linked to detrimental health conditions, which include psychological and mental health disorders, particularly that associated with a lack of privacy and childhood development.  As sponsors are being asked to provide accommodation for at least 6 months, we are required to look further ahead than just short term needs, if the accommodation being offered is to remain a healthy environment and not be the cause of health issues or result in a relationship breakdown.

Other accommodation requirements

  • window restrictors will be required on all openable windows with cills equal to or less than 800mm above the internal floor level and are located on the first floor or above, to prevent anyone from accidentally falling though the open window
  • any room containing an open flue (log or multi fuel burner, solid fuel fire etc) will require a working carbon monoxide detector fixed within that room
  • you will be required to supply a satisfactory service certificate or gas safety certificate, which is less than 12 months old, for any gas or oil-fired central heating boiler
  • your electrical installation throughout the property will need to be visibly free from any damage or disrepair
  • conservatories are not appropriate for use as sleeping accommodation
  • you may be asked to provide evidence of a building control completion certificate for any garages that have been converted for use as living accommodation

Welcome: a guide for Ukrainians arriving in the UK - GOV.UK

Department for work and pensions – support for Ukrainians arriving in the UK 

Support for those fleeing the conflict in Ukraine - Understanding Universal Credit

information leaflet for ukrainians arriving in the uk

information leaflet for ukrainians arriving in the uk - ukrainian

how to register with a gp asylum seekers and refugees

Cheshire East Family Information booklet (English) (PDF, 274KB)

Cheshire East Family Information booklet (Ukrainian) (PDF, 414KB)

How the NHS works: A guide for migrants (Ukrainian)

The following information help sponsors help their guests to apply for school places for their children.

School applications key messages for sponsors - how to apply (PDF, 196KB)

School applications key messages for sponsors - FAQs (PDF, 270KB)

An application should be submitted for each child.  This can be completed before the child has arrived in the UK or after they have arrived. We would strongly encourage that an application is only made either after the child has arrived or when arrangements are confirmed (for example, checks completed) so a place is not offered until it is needed. It must be submitted by the parent or someone who has care of the child.  Although sponsors can support with the application they are not permitted to apply on behalf of the parent. We understand that sponsors will want to support parents.  We may need to speak to the parent or make verification checks before discussing an application with the sponsor or other person.

For further information about applying for school places, please visit School admissions (cheshireeast.gov.uk)

The Ukraine Family Scheme is open to allow Ukrainians to join family members in the UK or to extend their stay in the UK.

People applying under this visa route must be applying to join/accompany a UK-based family member, be a Ukrainian national (or the immediate family member of a Ukrainian national applying to the scheme) and have been residing in Ukraine on or immediately before 1st January 2022.

 The council does not have the same responsibilities under the Ukraine Family Scheme as it does under the Homes for Ukraine Scheme.

If you wish to donate items, please contact the following independent drop-off points (this list will be updated as further locations are added):

Rotary Club
Glebe Farm
Peel Lane
Astbury
Congleton
CW12 4RQ
Contact: Mark Bailey 07722 00842

The Corner Studio
110 Victoria Street
Crewe
CW1 2JT
Contact: 07895586533

A Stroke of Magic Hair and Beauty
Goostrey Home and Leisure
Goostrey Lane
Cranage
CW4 8HE
Contact: Claire Steel

Drop off welcome 10am – 4pm Monday – Saturday 

At the present time, Cheshire East cannot accept any types of financial support. For any financial contributions please see the links below:

Disasters Emergency Committee, Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal, which provides food, water, shelter and healthcare to refugees and displaced families. Donations will be match funded by the government up to a total of £20m. 

The British Red Cross, which has launched an appeal to help the Ukrainian Red Cross to provide food, medicine, clothing and shelter, as well as first aid training in bomb shelters

The UNHCR refugee agency, which is funding emergency shelters, repairs for homes damaged by shelling, emergency cash assistance, psychological support and warm clothing 

Unicef, the UN children's charity, which is helping to ensure families have clean water and food and that child health and protection services continue

Save the Children, which is providing cash assistance, food and other support to refugees crossing into Romanian and Lithuania, as well as in Ukraine itself. 

Page last reviewed: 27 May 2022