Get help and support
If you are Ukrainian, or have family or friends affected by the conflict, help and support is available:
- Information and support if you are a resident with friends and family in Ukraine (Embassy of Ukraine)
- Apply for a Ukrainian Family Scheme visa
- UK visa support for Ukrainian nationals currently in the UK
- Travel advice (GOV.UK)
How you can help
Homes for Ukraine
The Government has launched Homes for Ukraine which offers British people the opportunity to sponsor Ukrainian refugees in their home. Registration for the scheme opened on Friday 18 March. You can register to become a sponsor online.
Once you have registered, the Government will carry out initial background checks. Councils then will be responsible for further in-person checks and support at a local level.
Make a donation
You can also donate to the Disasters Emergency Committee Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal.
These are difficult times. If you are feeling low or struggling with your mental health, help is at hand.
Information for sponsors and guests
You can find information about how the scheme will work on the government website.
Read this factsheet, which explains how Ukrainians can apply for the Homes for Ukraine Scheme.
Find out more information on being a sponsor on the Government website.
If you live in Croydon and have applied to be a sponsor
Homes for Ukraine is a government scheme, with local councils responsible for carrying out essential background checks and providing support to sponsors and their guests at a local level.
Croydon Council will be responsible for:
- accommodation and safeguarding checks
- support arrangements for guests and their hosts
- providing education
- homelessness assistance
- social care services for children and adults
- interim payments for guests arriving under the Homes for Ukraine scheme
- support with finding employment
- welcoming our guests and helping them to settle into our community
We will arrange and meet the cost of the checks - you will not be asked to pay a fee or make a payment of any kind, as part of becoming a sponsor. Any requests for you to do so will likely be a scam and should be reported. Read more on how to report scams.
If you are a sponsor or guest and would like to contact us, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
When will the council contact me to arrange the checks?
We have now received the list of Croydon sponsors from Government and from Monday 4 April, we will be emailing all sponsors to confirm we have received their application and outline the process.
What will the accommodation and safeguarding checks involve?
Before your guests arrive
We will need to carry out some checks before your guests arrive, to ensure your and their safety and wellbeing. We will explain more about this in our email to sponsors.
Council officers will carry out a home visit. This is to confirm that your accommodation is suitable for your guests, and to ensure your and your guests’ safety and wellbeing during their stay.
For information about what is required in terms of accommodation and things you need to consider, see GOV.UK guidance.
We are also required to undertake Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) criminal record checks for all adults (16 and over) in the sponsor household. The level of check is determined by the age and needs of the guests i.e. if a match is made which involves a guest who is a child (under 18), an enhanced DBS check will be undertaken on all members of the sponsor household who are aged 16+.
After your guests arrive
Following your guests’ arrival, we have a statutory duty to ensure their safety and wellbeing, so we may want to check in on them to make sure they are OK, to signpost them to local support, and assess whether they have any further needs.
For more information about the checks councils are required to do, see GOV.UK guidance.
Thank you payments for sponsors
Sponsors are asked to provide accommodation for a minimum of six months and can receive an optional ‘thank you’ payment of £350 per month for up to the first 12 months of sponsorship. This payment is limited to one monthly payment per residential address, regardless of the number of individuals sponsored. Payments will stop when the sponsorship ends
Thank-you payments will be made directly into sponsors’ bank accounts, once a month in arrears. We will contact you to arrange this once all background checks have been successfully completed.
The UK government is ensuring ‘thank you payments’ do not affect benefit entitlement and will remain tax-free.
Sponsors should not charge rent. They will not be expected to cover the costs of food and living expenses, although they may wish to offer this, especially in early weeks while guests are finding their feet.
Council tax discount
Council tax discounts will not be affected if you sponsor and host a Ukrainian household in your home.
Supporting your guests
For information about how to welcome your guests and help them settle in, see GOV.UK guidance.
Thrive Ldn have also put together this guide to supporting displaced Ukrainians.
If you are coming to Croydon as a guest
We look forward to welcoming our Ukrainian guests to Croydon. All people coming via the Family Scheme visa and Homes for Ukraine will be able to live, work and study in the UK and access public funds.
Phase One of the Homes for Ukraine scheme opened on 18 March for visa applications from Ukrainian applicants who have named people in the UK willing to sponsor them. Either the Ukrainian or the sponsor can complete the application. One application is required per individual coming to the UK.
The Home Office is responsible for all visa applications. See Home Office guidance on applying for a visa.
Councils cannot advise on the visa and matching process as we do not have access to this information.
Immigration or visa advice: The Ukraine Advice Project provides free immigration advice by qualified lawyers for those fleeing Ukraine.
Worried about family or friends: Find out who to contact on the UK visa support for Ukrainian nationals GOV.UK page.
The government has put together a guide for Ukrainians arriving in the UK which covers what you need to know in your first few days, getting used to life in the UK including how to find a home, access essential public services, healthcare, find work and childcare and education services.
Welcome payments for guests
When we are notified by the Home Office of your arrival, we will make contact at your host address to arrange your £200 welcome payment. This payment is only available for refugees arriving under the Homes for Ukraine scheme at present
Health and medical care
Everyone in England is eligible to register with a GP and receive primary health care services free of charge, regardless of immigration status.
When you arrive in Croydon, you should register with the nearest GP practice or the one your sponsor is registered with. You will be asked for proof of address and ID, but you will not be refused registration if you cannot provide these.
How does the healthcare system work?
The National Health Service (NHS), the UK Health Security Agency and the Mayor of London have produced a helpful leaflet, in Ukrainian and English, which explains how the service works and what rights to healthcare migrants have.
Once you are registered with a GP, they can help to arrange your first, second and booster dose Covid-19 vaccinations if you have not already had them. Covid-19 vaccinations are not compulsory but we recommend that you have them to protect yourself and others from the virus. More information about the Covid-19 vaccination is available on the NHS website. For walk in-vaccination clinics in your local area visit Walk-in and pop up vaccination clinics - South West London CCG.
Croydon Refugee Day Centre is a friendly, safe meeting place offering practical assistance to all refugees.
All children and young people of school age in Croydon are entitled to a school place. For information on how to apply for your child’s place, visit our admissions webpages.
Free Early Years entitlement for children aged three and four
All children aged three and four are entitled to a free part-time early years place of 15 hours per week at a nursery, pre-school or childminder before they reach school age. For further information on how to register your child and childcare providers, see Family Space Croydon.
Help with improving English language skills
Would you like to improve your English? CALAT, our adult education provider, are offering courses in English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL).
These courses are free for people who are settled in the UK, including those arriving under the Homes for Ukraine scheme, to gain English language skills and work towards nationally recognised qualifications. You can join the classes and make friends in a relaxed and friendly environment, take part in fun activities and improve your English language skills. They will also help you in accessing local services, healthcare, dental and well-being, support families with children at school, and offer a social club with activities such as gardening, music and yoga
To enrol call: 020 8726 6000 ext 65790 or email: email@example.com
Support to find work and training
For help with finding employment and training, contact Croydon Works on 020 8604 7471.
We have 13 libraries across Croydon where you can borrow books, and access computer and internet services.