Information to assist with the hosting of Ukraine refugees
How those of working age go about getting access to benefits once they have arrived
Firstly the hosts are asked to set the guests up with a bank account, currently NatWest appear to be helpful.
Once they have the biometric ID through they can apply for universal credits the same way anyone does- online with hopefully a bit of help from hosts
There will be support with this if you are struggling at our hub in Shrewsbury but I realise this might not be convenient for everybody in which case they would go to the nearest Citizens Advice Bureau or Job Centre
How those of working age should go about getting a job
The same way as everybody does although I would recommend going into venues with them and talking to the employers because many people are making extra efforts to employ Ukrainian guests at the moment, I guess it depends what they want to do.
I would encourage hosts to help them find the job Internet pages like indeed.com and other ways that everybody else looks for jobs.
Those particularly looking at getting into the hospitality business it’s often worth speaking to people directly. I know there’s a lot of work in that area at the moment
Do they go to the local job centre or is there another route? What they need to take with them if this is the case etc. They would need as much ID as possible as bank account cards etc just to be safe, they may need proof of address And it would definitely help for the hosts to be with them if possible or other volunteers to help them with this process
Some advice on dealing with people who might well be quite traumatised
You are right, and we are busy putting together a team of therapists and counsellors who will be able to help when the time is right, my experience is unless there is an extreme exception to the rule, most people just want to eat sleep and rest, maybe have a bath or a shower, get to know the area and meet other Ukrainians, get to know the area and meet other Ukrainians. So far many of the ones I have met have wanted to just get stuck into work or volunteering and sometimes keeping busy can be a coping strategy
In my experience it takes a long time before the true side effects of trauma reveal themselves often in physical symptoms before anything else.
The people coming here have it in their head that they’re only here for six months so it’s a very different mentality to people thinking that they’re coming to live somewhere for years and years
Certain things help and certain things don’t.
What most definitely does not help is people asking them about their experiences or details that they may not want to think about or relive
Anti Russian sentiment is a strange one . Many have ties with Russians and Russian relatives. They also often speak Russian . Most Russians in this county are devastated and embarrassed and sadly experiencing abuse
It will not help to discuss your shock and horror at Putin’s actions or the latest chemical weapons are that he has got and I would actively encourage people not to have the news on all the time in the background because this will just traumatise them again. If they wish to watch the news I’m sure they have their own ways of finding news in their own language online
Of course, there may be exceptions to the rule and it’s up to each family and their guests to decide how much the war as discussed in the house or how much the news is on. I would be extra cautious around children
To safeguard hosts and guests we would always encourage people not to be left on their own with children at any time unless the parents are around
I would encourage people to go at the pace of their guests including the children so if the children do not feel ready to leave their parents or go to school yet I don’t have a problem with that
Hosts are encouraged to help their guests to register with GPs, address urgent medical issues in the way that anybody would, help get bank accounts and help them approach the local schools although it may be a while before they can get in.
I would say encourage people to offer to take them out and about but not insist
It would be nice if you could at some point bring your guests into the hub so that we can give them a Sim cards that we have and any networking opportunities that are available can be shared as well
Maybe ask them if they would like to attend a church and if they would which one. Often it is the Orthodox churches but not everybody feels the need to go to church
Shropshire County Council - Support offered
Internet links and some ‘on the ground facilities’ which are based in Shrewsbury
You can join our Facebook group
Where people help and advise each other
My number and the number for the WhatsApp groups
Visit our support hub: it’s called “community support”
(in process of getting the Google maps link updated)
· Shropshire Supports Refugees alongside the local authority are coordinating a network of support across the county to ensure guest and hosts feel supported no matter where they are in the county
· We have a closed Facebook group that we encourage all hosts and guests to join where we make most of our announcements and members share tips advice and experiences.
· We have set up a variety of WhatsApp groups for hosts, guests, and volunteers that people are welcome to join. In here, people get to know each other and self organise get-togethers and social events.
· We are developing a list of phone numbers and organisations the guests may need, as well as welcome to Shropshire tourism packs
· We have free Sim cards for Ukrainian guests courtesy of Vodafone
· We have a large team of volunteers poised and ready to offer support, be friend, and supervise the support hub.
· We have developed a support hub in the Riverside shopping centre where people can drop in, get support advice, signposting as well as eventually activities and education.
· This hub can also be used as a safe base to explore the town from, meet up with friends, sit down chill out with a hot drink and food.
· Opening hours are currently Monday to Thursday 11 till 4pm but when we have a full rota of volunteers on board we are hoping it can be open seven days a week
· As time moves on there will be many useful, fun and therapeutic services available at the hub.
· We have a donations unit where guests can come and get clothes and toiletries and eventually furniture and household goods.
· As of this week we have started a fortnightly group and community leaders zoom call where they can talk to representatives from the local authority to get the latest updates to share with their communities. The next one will be April 25th at 6:30 pm
· We are encouraging towns villages and communities to develop a variety of Safe spaces for guests to spend time in when They want to get out of the house to include village halls, churches and faith groups, local shops pubs and town halls, also libraries leisure centres
· We are also encouraging networking between hosts and guests on a micro local level to ensure that everybody feels supported and to help and support the guests and hosts
· We are partnering with the Shropshire integrated partnership to massively increase our volunteer reach, and develop training advice and guidance for guests and hosts
Let me know if you would like to be added to the WhatsApp groups.