We are very happy to welcome you to our district and we hope that you feel safe and cared for during your time here. Your sponsor will be your main support during your stay. However, as a council we are here to co-ordinate the scheme, make sure your needs are met and you are able to settle into life in the UK with all the support you need.
When you arrive in Huntingdonshire through the Homes for Ukraine Scheme with your sponsor, they will have let your council representative know that you are here.
Each person will receive a payment of £200 in the first few days. Payments to children will go to their parent or guardian and this money is for you to buy any items that you need immediately.
You will receive the money via an email from the Post Office. You just need to take your email to any local Post Office, show them the bar code at the bottom of the text of the email and they will give you the cash.
We can help you with getting, or direct you to organisations to help you, with the following:
UK SIM cards
Your council rep will visit you shortly after your arrival and can answer any questions you may have. You will need to apply for benefits and register with various organisations in order to get you and your family settled. This will include:
Universal Credit - this is money that the government will give you to live on each month if you are not working or on a low income. You can apply online: Universal Credit: How to claim - GOV.UK.
When your application has been received, you will receive weekly appointments at the Jobcentre closest to you (Huntingdon for most). They will help you look for work or prepare to work with training or other support.
Child Benefit - if you are here with children you can apply for this extra benefit for all children under 16, and up to the age of 18 if they are still in full-time education.
This is a paper form that you will need to print off. You will need to either send your passport in the post with the application or you can take it to the Jobcentre (where your Universal Credit interviews will take place) and they will take a copy of your passport and verify that it is real. You can then send this copy so you do not need to send your passport away.
UK bank account - you can choose a high street bank or an online bank such as Monzo. Not all online banks are accepted by Universal Credit so please check before you open one. Your sponsor should be able to help you with this. You will need a UK bank account to apply for Universal Credit so it's be a good idea to do this soon after you arrive.
Register with a GP - your sponsor families will be registered already so you can ask them about your local surgery and apply for each member in your family to join. Once you have filled in the application and handed it in you will be sent an NHS Number that will give you access to free healthcare for the length of your visa.
Schools - you will need to apply for a school place for your children. Usually this will be the closest school to where you are living.
You will make the application through Cambridgeshire County Council who have a dedicated process for those coming from Ukraine: Apply for a school place. Your child will then be given a place if the school has space and, if they don’t, they will offer a place at the closest available school. You may also be entitled to apply for transport and free school meals - your child's new school can give advice on this.
BRP - you will probably have applied for your Biometric Residency Permit (BRP) at the border, especially if you have a new style biometric passport. If this was the case, it should be arriving at a local post office within a few weeks.
If you didn't do this you will need to make an appointment at your closest centre, which is either Peterborough or Cambridge, where they will take your photo and fingerprints. When you receive your BRP you will have permission to stay here for three years, leave and re enter the UK when you want to and to work.
We are really lucky in Huntingdonshire that we have weekly social events available for you to attend. They are great places to meet other Ukrainian families and individuals, make friends, network, speak in your own language and relax.
One week there is a Friendship evening at the St Ives Corn Exchange that includes a comfy seating area, tea and snacks, toys for children and free items to take home. It is from 6pm to 8pm and organised by the Rotary Club of St Ives.
There is an English class here from location from 2pm to 5pm before the Friendship evening.
On the next week the Buckden Ukrainian Support Group has a two course dinner, games area, free shop, singing and more at Buckden Towers from 6.30pm to 7.45/8pm.
There is also an English class here from 5.30 to 6.30 pm before the dinner start. The class is split into beginner and advanced groups.
The best way to keep up to date with the information is through our social media pages on Facebook:
Buckden Ukrainian Support Group - This Facebook page allows anyone interested in supporting our local Ukrainian community to show support. It also has information about attending events, helping with household items for those moving into their own homes, fortnightly social activities and questions.
Ramsey Welcome Hub - This Facebook page allows all sponsors and guests living in Ramsey and the surrounding areas to talk to each other, ask questions and it is a place to advertise social gatherings and community events.
Other opportunities to learn English are at:
Morrisons Cafe in St Ives, every Thursday evening 7pm - 8pm
The Open University
Huntingdon, Cambridge and Peterborough College
There are also various online courses available as well as other local classes that you can ask us about at your welcome visit.
Following discussion with the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain, Barnardo's has set up the Ukrainian Support Helpline - staffed by English, Ukrainian and Russian speakers. The helpline is available to anyone fleeing the conflict in Ukraine.
Call the helpline free on 0800 148 8586 on:
Monday to Friday (10am to 8pm)
Saturday (10am to 3pm)
If you find that you are struggling with enough food please do get in touch with your local food bank who can help for up to 4 weeks with emergency food and other essential items. Find your local food bank.
If there are any specific items you need and you cannot find them please contact your council rep who can help – email@example.com
There is sometimes the need to rematch some Ukrainian families or individuals with a new sponsor. There are many reasons this may happen. It could be that the time your sponsors are able to host has come to an end or many other reasons.
If you need to be rematched please do not worry. We will do our best to move you with as little upheaval as possible with a new family. We will work with you and your sponsor to make sure the process is as quick and easy as we can make it. If you have any worries about this please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
For those that make the decision to settle here and make a new life, you will need to start thinking about the future early on in your stay. It can take quite some time to find affordable and suitable rented accommodation.
We advise that you sign up on the council's social housing register which is called Home-Link. This is the place where housing is allocated, usually on a needs-based basis. When you sign up you will be placed within a band. The higher the band the more opportunity to bid on properties. This can be a long process and there are hundreds of people on the list, but it is always a good idea to be on it.
Alternatively you can look in the private rented sector. You will have the best chance of being successful in securing a property this way if you are working, but many landlords will also accept the Housing Benefit element of Universal credit if you are cannot work.
It can be a long process as the market is very crowded. However, we have support to help you find and secure properties. We also have help with deposits and we will give you tailored and personal support.
There is a government online tool to help you work out how much you may be entitled to if you would be looking at paying your rent through your Universal Credit payments: Benefits calculators.