750 refugees have now been granted visas to stay with hosts in Richmond through the Homes for Ukraine Scheme, and an unquantifiable number have also arrived through the Ukraine Family Visa Scheme. As of 17 May, Richmond had the fourth highest number of visa applications of any non-county local authority in the UK, thanks to the goodwill and compassion of local hosts offering accommodation.
The Council is conducting accommodation checks and background DBS checks on adults over 16 in host households. The refugees are accessing healthcare, schooling, language tuition, applicable benefits and seeking work, while a range of support and welcoming activities has been put in place by the Council, charities and voluntary groups across the borough.
New hosts needed
A small number of displaced Ukrainians already here in Richmond now need to move on due to illness or an unforeseen change in circumstances in their host’s household. Under the Homes for Ukraine Scheme, hosts will receive a monthly payment of £350 for the remainder of their guests’ first year in the UK.
If you know anyone who could offer spare rooms under this scheme, please urge them to contact us or Richmond Council to find out how the scheme operates. You can also join us in printing out this flyer and sharing it with people you know.
When guests arrive, a welcome visit is arranged to assess their needs and advise them of what they are entitled to, which is basically the same as for any UK resident. People will be able to access English language tuition and help with finding employment. If there are children, the welcome visit is conducted by Achieving for Children, otherwise by the Adult Social Care Team.
Under the Homes for Ukraine Scheme, hosts are eligible for goodwill payments of £350 per month for the first twelve months. However, there is no government funding for local authorities under the Ukraine Family Scheme, so people on that scheme are not eligible for the initial £200 or monthly £350 payments, and there is no notification to the Council that they have arrived.
People participating in the Ukraine Family Scheme must let the Council know they have arrived in Richmond; they can then access the same welcome visit and other provision as anyone arriving through the Homes for Ukraine Scheme.
A host’s guide
A local host has generously shared a description of everything she has learned on her hosting journey, including a comprehensive checklist of what hosts might need to organise for their guests when they arrive.
Read her advice below, supplemented by tips and suggestions posted by other hosts and guests on our WhatsApp groups.
Moving on from hosts
We have a guide to moving on for refugees from Ukraine who have been hosted by families in Richmond, and are now looking to move into their own accommodation. This advice is available in both English and Ukrainian. If you have any questions, contact Hirsh Cashdan below.
Council info and contacts
There is a useful page on the Council website with information on work, education, healthcare and other support for people arriving from Ukraine, including the following video in Ukrainian:
The Council’s Ukraine team can be contacted on 0208 891 7687 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
For urgent help out of hours phone 020 8891 7999. This line is monitored 24 hours a day, so hold until answered to access assistance in cases of immediate homelessness or other urgent need.
Щоб отримати екстрену допомогу, коли офіси Ради закриті, будь ласка, зателефонуйте за номером 020 8891 7999. Будь ласка, зачекайте, доки хтось відповість, оскільки завжди є хтось, хто допоможе з такими терміновими проблемами, як раптова бездомність.
If you need guidance on schooling or related matters then Achieving for Children are a good source of help:
Email email@example.com or phone 07540156905 (Ukrainian interpreters available). The team have the latest updates on whether Ukrainian young people will be able to apply to 6th forms depending on their level of English and Maths, plus guidance about colleges.
The following employers are inviting applications from Ukrainian refugees for work in the hospitality and other sectors:
- Compass Group:
- Heathrow Airport:
- Pembroke Lodge
- Petersham Nurseries
- Richmond contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Covent Garden contact: email@example.com
- Pret A Manger / Itsu,
- including language tuition, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Richmond Golf Club
- The Bingham
- The Dysart
What RWinR offers
Refugees Welcome in Richmond (RWinR) aims to provide information and support to refugees from Ukraine and to the local residents hosting them in the London Borough of Richmond Upon Thames.
The Ukraine schemes differ from the Syrian and Afghan schemes in that accommodation is available through hosts, who will often be also acting as befrienders.
However, we are setting up a team to offer backup support, so hosts and guests can contact us to draw on our experience in welcoming refugees, language support, navigating UK systems, sourcing household and personal items, etc.
RWinR has access to mediation and trauma counselling, should any hosts or guests feel this may be helpful.
We are compiling a database of local people offering to help, and will distribute information by emailing our database and posting updates on our website, Facebook group, and WhatsApp groups.
We have set up a WhatsApp group for hosts that is serving as a lively local self-help forum, and another WhatsApp group for guests to communicate in Ukrainian. Let us know if you would like to be added to our database or either of our WhatsApp groups.
Regular and upcoming events
RWinR hosts a weekly social hub for Ukrainian guests and their hosts at the Vineyard Community Centre Café, with free tea, filter coffee, and cakes (2a The Vineyard, Richmond TW10 6AQ). Tuesdays 1-3pm. Citizens Advice Richmond is usually also on hand to help with questions and concerns.
Prosperity Café host a social hub every Friday 4.30-7.30pm (Crossway, St Stephen’s Church, Richmond Road, Twickenham, TW1 2PD). Events such as yoga, art classes, dance lessons, children’s activities etc. are available at different times.
Amyand Park Chapel host a weekly social hub for guests and hosts on Saturday mornings 9.30-11.30am with free tea, coffee, and cakes and toys for children! (174 Amyand Park Rd, St Margarets, Twickenham TW1 3HY).
ETNA Community Centre host a fortnightly event Fridays 4-6pm (13 Rosslyn Rd, East Twickenham TW1 2AR).
Every day! Entry to Kew Gardens is £1 only for anyone in receipt of Universal Credit (benefits).
Hirsh Cashdan has kindly agreed to administer this subgroup on Ukraine, and all enquiries should be addressed to him.