Homes for Ukraine / Family Visa Schemes

Richmond Council has confirmed that around 562 refugees have now been granted visas to stay with hosts in Richmond through the Homes for Ukraine scheme, and an unquantifiable number of refugees have also arrived through the Ukraine Family Visa scheme.

As of 17th May, Richmond had the 4th highest number of visa applications of any non-county local authority in the UK, thanks to local hosts offering accommodation.

The Council is conducting accommodation checks and background DBS checks on adults over 16 in host households, but note that these checks do not in any way hold up visa processing. The Council is working to connect the provision of local voluntary groups and charities.

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.

There is no government funding for local authorities under the Ukraine Family scheme, so the Council will not necessarily be aware of new arrivals, and people on that scheme will not be eligible for the initial £200 or monthly £350 payments. However, if hosts notify the Council, guests can 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.

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:

If you are unable to find the information you need on the Council website, you can contact them via email: 

or call 0208 891 7687.

You can also read more below to find out what we offer at Refugees Welcome in Richmond.

Job opportunities

The following employers are inviting applications from Ukrainian refugees for work in the hospitality and other sectors:

What we offer

Refugees Welcome in Richmond (RWinR) aim 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 have 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 and the Vineyard Community Centre host a social hub for Ukrainian guests and hosts at the Vineyard Café every Friday 1-3pm with free tea, filter coffee, and cakes! (2a The Vineyard, Richmond TW10 6AQ). Meet Sarah Olney MP on 20 May, Richmond Council representative on 27 May, and Munira Wilson MP on 8 July.

Prosperity Café host a social hub every Sunday afternoon, 1-3pm (59 York St, Twickenham TW1 3LP). (Yoga, art classes, dance lessons, children’s activities etc. also 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).

20th / 21st July: Sign up for free language courses starting September at Richmond and Hillcroft Adult Community College. Sign up for an assessment day slot.

Contact form for Ukraine

Hirsh Cashdan has kindly agreed to administer this subgroup on Ukraine, and all enquiries should be addressed to him.

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