We are all aware of the horrific attacks on innocent people in Ukraine.
We stand united with Ukraine and the rest of the world to condemn the invasion by Russia.
The men, women and children of Ukraine are currently living through unimaginable circumstances and many of us want to support this humanitarian crisis.
We will be opening the Town Hall Assembly Rooms in Lymington Road, Torquay, on Thursdays from 9.30am to 12.30pm to Torbay’s Ukrainian guests, beginning on Thursday 14 April.
We will issue a payment to Ukrainian visitors arriving under the Homes for Ukraine scheme. Everyone will need to come in person and provide identification to prove their name. Ideally this should be their passport.
We can only issue money to people who are on our list from the Department of Housing and Levelling Up as arriving under the Homes for Ukraine Scheme.
This money will be issued regardless of the status of host DBS and housing checks. People will be asked to sign to say they have received the money.
Please email RefugeeSupport@Torbay.gov.uk to let us know you’re coming, as we need to know who will be there. You will need to wear a face covering.
We still offer support to those arriving under the Ukraine Family scheme, such as help accessing education and healthcare, along with signposting for assistance with work, benefits and community groups.
Helping those displaced by the war in Ukraine
Torbay has a great history of helping those displaced by war, with Brixham particularly supporting those from Belgium during the second world war. More recently we have provided sanctuary to Syrian and Afghan families.
What we are doing
We are working closely with our partners and communities to coordinate the support we can offer to Ukrainians living in or arriving in Torbay.
More information is expected to be given to us over the coming days. At this time, we may not have all the answers, but we are committed to helping Ukrainians arriving in Torbay.
As more information becomes available, we will be updating this page.
Homes for Ukraine scheme
Launched on Monday 14 March 2022, the ‘Homes for Ukraine’ scheme allows UK individuals, charities and community groups to register their interest in supporting Ukrainians fleeing the war.
What we know about the scheme
- Under Phase 1, people (also known as sponsors) will be able to nominate a named Ukrainian individual or family to stay with them rent-free, or in another property, for at least six-months.
- People who don’t have a named person, but still wish to sponsor a Ukrainian individual or family will be encouraged to get in touch with charities, faith groups or local community organisations who are starting to make connections with individuals.
- As a thank you to people who open up their homes, the government will pay £350 a month.
- Sponsors will be vetted, and Ukrainian applicants will be security checked.
- Ukrainians on the scheme will be given leave to remain for three years, with the right to work and access public services.
Anyone interested in registering for the scheme are encouraged to read all the details before recording their offer of support.
Guidance can be found on the GOV.UK Homes for Ukraine: sponsor guidance page.
Information for Torbay residents sponsoring Ukrainians
Please be assured Torbay Council officers are working as quickly as possible to process DBS checks for sponsors and applicable household members. We hope you will find this brief summary of the process helpful:
- Stage 1 – Sponsor and Guest details received by the council via Government portal.
- Stage 2 – Initial checks carried out by council officers over the phone to verify sponsor details required for DBS are correct and to obtain details of anyone else in the household over the age of 16.
- Stage 3 – A DBS online account is created by a council officer for each sponsor requiring a DBS. An email notification as sent to inform the account has been created.
- Stage 4 – Sponsors and household members over 16 follow the link in the DBS email to complete their online DBS form.
- Stage 5 – Once the form is complete, a council officer will make contact to arrange an appointment at the Town Hall to complete the required physical checks of DBS documentation.
- Stage 6 – DBS checks are processed and return.
- For the majority of sponsors, DBS accounts have now been created. If you haven’t completed your online form, please check your emails, including junk folders. In most cases we are now at Stage 4 or Stage 5 in the above process.
Important: Please do not present at the Town Hall with DBS documentation until you have been contacted by an officer and you have an appointment.
Latest Government guidance has provided assurances that the DBS process will not act as a delay to Ukrainian refugees travelling to the UK.
How you can help
Many Torbay residents have expressed a desire to help refugees fleeing Ukraine. If you are unable to provide a home for Ukrainians arriving in Torbay, there are other ways you can help.
We have spoken with the local voluntary and community sector on how Torbay as a community can best help those in need. The advice from the British Red Cross and The Salvation Army, who both have extensive expertise in supporting global humanitarian efforts, is to give funds. Charities working on the ground in Ukraine are the closest to the people that need help and are likely to have the best information on how your donations can have the greatest impact.
While we recognise that people want to do something practical to help, sending shipments of physical items is expensive and time consuming. It can sometimes be wasteful rather than helpful when efforts are not coordinated with charities working on the front line. There are several reputable charities taking donations directly to support those affected by the conflict in Ukraine, including:
- British Red Cross is providing food, clothing, warm clothes and shelters.
- The Salvation Army is providing emergency accommodation, hot meals and drinks, personal hygiene items and bedding.
- Unicef UK is supporting families with access to food and clean water, health and protection services.
- Disaster Emergency Committee brings together 15 leading UK aid charities, raising funds to quickly and effectively respond to overseas disasters
For all enquiries relating to refugees please contact us by email: RefugeeSupport@torbay.gov.uk
Looking after those in our community
Torbay has a large eastern European community, many of whom may have loved ones living in and fleeing Ukraine. As we think about those desperately trying to keep safe, we need to remember the impact this could be having on our own neighbours, friends and colleagues. Much like we all did during the coronavirus lockdowns, please check in on those in your local community who may be affected.
The GOV.UK has lots of information on ‘Support for family members of British nationals in Ukraine, and Ukrainian nationals in Ukraine and the UK’. The information is updated regularly with the latest advice and guidance.
The latest information, including how to make donations safely and staying safe online can be found on the GOV.UK Ukraine: What you can do to help page.
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