Ukraine crisis: support available and ways to help

You can find ways local residents can help those impacted by the Ukraine crisis below, as well as advice for Ukrainian nationals arriving in the UK.

You can translate any page of our website into another language by selecting the headphones icon.

Welcome guides for hosts and guests

East Sussex County Council have published two welcome guides. 

Both are intended to offer some useful information and links to help people arriving in the area from Ukraine settle into the community.

Either can be translated into Ukrainian (or Russian) by using the translation tool at the top of the pages.

A community welcome video is also available below in English and Ukrainian.

Homes for Ukraine Scheme

Homes for Ukraine is a government-led scheme. Through the scheme, people in the UK can open their homes to provide shelter for those fleeing the war in Ukraine.

The scheme will offer a route to those who want to come to the UK who have someone here willing to provide them with a home. It will enable individuals, charities, community groups and businesses to volunteer accommodation.

Phase One of the Homes for Ukraine scheme opened on Friday 18 March 2022 for visa applications from those who wish to travel to the UK and who have named people in the UK willing to sponsor them.

This scheme is open to people who were residents in Ukraine prior to 1 January 2022 and also to their immediate family members (for example spouse/partner and children under 18) who may be of other nationalities, to be sponsored to come to the UK. Applicants can apply from Ukraine or from any other third country.

The Government has clarified that the Homes for Ukraine scheme is only open to adults and their families, and unaccompanied children (under 18) are not eligible. 

The number of people who can access this scheme is uncapped and is dependent on the capacity of the sponsors who come forward.

Guests will be able to live and work in the UK for up to three years and access benefits, healthcare, employment, and other support. Those arriving need to meet standard security checks prior to being issued with a visa.

Further information on the scheme and how to apply, can be found at homesforukraine.campaign.gov.uk

Anyone in the UK with a spare room or home can register to sponsor a refugee as part of the Homes for Ukraine scheme, providing you can offer accommodation for at least 6 months and you yourself have a right to remain in the UK for the next 6 months.

You can register as an individual sponsor or as an organisation here through the central government website here: gov.uk/register-interest-homes-ukraine

The government has published a set of frequently asked questions about the scheme on its website: gov.uk/guidance/homes-for-ukraine-scheme-frequently-asked-questions

There are also several charitable organisations that may be able to help you connect with refugees looking for homes under the scheme. These include:

Entering and staying in the UK

Guidance for Ukraine nationals and their family members wanting to enter the UK:

National Rail – Displaced Persons Travel Scheme

To help Ukrainian nationals travelling to the United Kingdom, most public transport operators, including National Rail, are offering free onward travel to get you to a safe place. The offer is valid across all National Rail train operators, light rail services and the majority of bus and coach services in England, Scotland, and Wales, and you will have 48 hours from arrival in the UK to complete your journey.

You will also be able to travel free across London using London Underground, Docklands Light Railway (DLR) and London bus and tram services so you can reach your destination as quickly as possible.

To make use of this scheme, you will need to show your Ukrainian passport and a boarding pass or ticket showing your arrival into the UK.

Use the journey planner below to help find your journey.

Щоб допомогти українцям, які прибувають до Сполученого Королівства, більшість транспортних операторів, включаючи Національну залізницю, пропонують безкоштовний доїзд до вашого місця безпеки. Ця пропозиція дійсна для всіх операторів Національної залізниці, легких залізниць та більшості міських та міжміських автобусів в Англії, Шотландії та Уельсі, і у вас буде 48 годин з часу прибуття в Сполучене Королівство, щоб завершити свою подорож.

Ви також зможете безкоштовно подорожувати через Лондон на лондонському метрополітені, легкій залізниці Доклендс (DLR) та лондонських автобусах і трамваях, щоб ви могли дістатися до вашого місця призначення якомога скоріше.

Щоб скористатися з цієї програми, вам буде потрібно пред’явити свій український паспорт, а також посадковий талон або квиток, який показує ваше прибуття до Сполученого Королівства.

Скористайтеся планувальником подорожі нижче, щоб спланувати свою поїздку.


Advice and Support for Ukrainians once in the UK

The Red Cross have assembled practical help and guides for refugees on what it’s like to live in the UK and how to access essential services, which can be found here.

The Red Cross also run an Emotional Support Helpline for those finding it hard to get the help they need in the UK, as well as running services for refugees and people seeking asylum.

It helps people who are lonely, worried, and finding it hard to get the help they need in the UK. 

Call on 0808 196 3651 open daily 10am - 6pm. You can ask for an interpreter if you need one, the service provides help in more than 200 languages.

Payments and support to refugees

As a first step, the government will provide every person arriving from Ukraine with a payment of £200 to help cover immediate costs while you settle in. 

Guests will receive a text message with a voucher which can be used at any branch of the Post Office to receive the £200 payment.

Payments by post 

Guests can instead ask for their £200 payment by post if they prefer. 

If they request this, East Sussex County Council will send them a letter with a cheque which can then be cashed at any branch of Nat West bank. The bank will also need that person's passport to be shown. 

To request this option, guests are asked to email ukraine@eastsussex.gov.uk

Future payments 

East Sussex County Council is developing more permanent systems for payments and will update you as these are set up. They will include ways for hosts to request an optional £350 monthly payment.


School places

East Sussex County Council is working with local schools to identify where places can quickly be opened for Ukrainian children to resume their education. They don't have major concerns about finding sufficient places, though it may not always be possible to meet preferences.

Parents or guardians can apply for school places online at:
Apply for a place during the school year.

You can get more help and advice from their local school by emailing Admissions

You can find a list of schools in East Sussex at Find local schools.

Apply for a school place

Barnardo’s free helpline to support Ukrainian families

Following discussion with the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain, Barnardo’s has set up the Ukrainian Support Helpline to provide a holistic support service. The helpline is available to anyone fleeing the conflict in Ukraine. 

Barnardo’s free helpline (0800 148 8586) is staffed by English, Ukrainian and Russian speakers, to offer support to children and families arriving in the UK from Ukraine. 

The helpline is open Monday – Friday (10:00am – 8:00pm) and Saturday (10:00am – 3:00pm). Callers will be able to get help and advice on a range of topics. 

A dedicated email address ukrainiansupport@barnardos.org.uk and webpage have also been set up for those assisting with the Ukraine response. 

For more information visit: www.barnardos.org.uk - Ukrainian helpline

Benefits and help with housing

Refugees who have come to the UK under the Ukraine schemes can claim benefits and get assistance with housing.

Ukrainians who left the country following the Russian invasion on 24 February 2022 will have recourse to public funds if they:

  • Were resident in Ukraine before 1 January 2022 and
  • have been given leave to enter the UK, and
  • are not subject to a no recourse to public funds condition.

Access to benefits

Ukrainian nationals who have recourse to public funds will be entitled to claim benefits such as Universal Credit, Housing Benefit, Pension Credit, Personal Independence Payment, Child Disability Living Allowance and Carers Allowance and Attendance Allowance. 

There are benefits calculators to help determine a person’s entitlement. Work Coaches in Jobcentres can also help with making online claims.

Benefits calculator - GOV.UK

Assistance if homeless or at risk of homelessness

Ukraine scheme residents can apply to the council for help if they are homeless, or at risk of homelessness within 56 days. This leaflet gives more details: Applying for assistance with housing

For anyone at risk of homelessness, the council will attempt to help the household remain in their current accommodation. For example, if the relationship between the host and refugee is breaking down, we can engage the mediation service (see below for contact details).

For households who are homeless, or where homelessness cannot be prevented, we will support them to find an alternative host or private rented accommodation. 

This factsheet gives advice on how to find accommodation: Looking for somewhere to live 

We have a duty to provide temporary accommodation only for households who have a priority need. Households with no priority need are supported to find other accommodation. What is priority need? Shelter.org.uk

Mediation 

The mediation services can help in any situation where there is conflict, for example between the sponsor and Ukrainian guest. This factsheet gives details of the service and how to contact them: Help if conflict is affecting your household


Donations and Aid

National and local charities are accepting donations to help support the efforts in Ukraine. Donations can be monetary or essential items.

Local Voluntary Action Organisation 3VA have set up a directory of local organisations that are accepting monetary donations or donations of essential items such as clothes, sanitary products, and non-perishable food.

Organisations that are currently accepting donations or offering support in the local area are:

Hailsham Roadways
Hailsham Roadways are collecting donations and delivering them to the Ukrainian Club in London. From there, the supplies will be donated to Ukrainian refugees in several neighbouring countries.  

They are specifically looking for:

  • Sanitary products
  • Nappies
  • Shower gel
  • Shampoo
  • Baby wipes
  • Toothpaste and toothbrushes
  • First aid kits
  • Paracetamol
  • Wound dressing
  • Torches and batteries (especially head torches)

If you can donate any of these products, please take them to the Hailsham Roadways Depot, Woodside Depot, Polegate Bypass, Hailsham BN27 3PG. 

Rainbow Wishes
Local charity Rainbow Wishes have started a Crowdfunder for medical equipment such as Defibrillators, Glucose Monitors, and other high-value equipment to be taken to medical teams in Poland. Donations can be made online.

They are also accepting donations of essential supplies, including:

  • Medical supplies
  • Non-Perishable Food
  • Bottled Water
  • Men’s Thermal Socks, Vests
  • Batteries
  • Head Torches
  • Two-way Radios

Lewes Organisation in Support of Refugees and Asylum Seekers
LOSRAS is a long established charity run by volunteers who undertake a number of activities including a long term scheme for supporting refugees and asylum seekers  settled in the Lewes District. They have a wealth of experience and useful resources. LOSRAS can offer training for people working with/supporting refugees as well as  some volunteer ESOL support. LOSRAS has and will   act as a conduit for information and advice to help people hosting Ukrainians in the Lewes District and those wishing to support Ukrainian refugees in other ways. They will not however be matching hosts and refugees under the Homes for Ukraine scheme. You can contact LOSRAs through the web site and by emailing info@losras.org

Sussex Aid - Sussex Removals 
Sussex Removals are accepting donations from local residents to help those fleeing Ukraine. Donations are being delivered directly to a refugee centre in Poland called CH Turawa Park which is a disused warehouse, but is now like a processing centre for refugees. A list of items they need and where you can drop donations can be found on their website. They have also set up a JustGiving page to accept monetary donations which will go directly towards fuel and ferry costs. If you would like to contribute to this visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/sussexremovalsaidtoukraine

Computers for Charities
Computers for Charities came to life 30 years ago in conjunction with the war in Bosnia, and over this time has provided aid and support in many places of conflict. 

They are also gearing up to offer support, both for refugees leaving and within Ukraine.

They are taking financial donations. Currently this is by cheque or BACS and are also accepting donations of first aid equipment. Items such as paracetamol, dressing packs, and household medical items such as blood pressure monitors, pulse oximeters and incontinence pads are needed.

Survival packs / backpacks containing items for personal care such as clothing and hygiene products are being assembled, to be distributed to displaced Ukrainian citizens across Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and Romania.

Community Wise
Community Wise is currently serving as a collection point of survival boxes and donations for Ukraine. This is on behalf of our partner organisation, CfC (Computers for Charities) who has initiated the appeal and distributing the supplies at border crossing points (4 countries). 

Items needed for survival boxes are:

  • Soap
  • Shower gel
  • Flannels
  • Combs
  • Tissues
  • Razors for men
  • Female sanitary items
  • Warm socks
  • Hats
  • Underwear
  • Chocolate

All Saints Church, Eastbourne
All Saints Church have collected a vast array of warm winter clothing, blankets and food and will be transporting these to a hub organised by the Barnabas Fund in Hailsham and Heathfield at the end of this week.   

Cafe Ukraine Eastbourne
A free social hub for Ukrainians and their hosts. A place to socialise, make friends and support each other. The cafe will be meeting every Saturday from 28th May 2022 from 10.30am to 12.30pm in the church hall of Our Lady of Ransom, Meads Road, Eastbourne BN21 4EU opposite the Town Hall. They look forward to welcoming you.

Seaford for Ukraine
Seaford for Ukraine offer support for hosts and sponsors. To get connected to the host support network, other hosts, tailored resources, local Ukraine language speakers and welcome / social events for Ukraine guests please email seafordforukraine@gmail.com  

TechResort
This local charitable organisation is offering support to families who wish to apply to house a Ukraine family and funding. They have the devices, connectivity, and the skills to help people make the applications.

Community Chef
Local charitable organisation, Community Chef, will be giving a 25% donation from all of their leisure workshops to the Red Cross, as well as fundraising activities over the next month.

British HIV Association
CALL FOR UNWANTED HIV MEDS! The British HIV Association are supporting the European AIDS Clinical Society to ensure vital medication destined for disposal is collected and sent to support people with HIV & clinics impacted by the war in Ukraine. You can direct message them for details at @BritishHIVAssoc or @EACSociety

Sanctuary Café
The Sanctuary Café, which offers a free drop-in for refugees, asylum seekers and migrants, is collecting young men’s clothes, trainers, lightweight coats, joggers etc. for the men and families already here from other war-torn countries. Please make donations to the All Souls Church Wellesley Rd, Eastbourne, BN21 3RJ.

WayfinderWoman
Every Monday, from 10.30am to 12.30pm the Eastbourne based charity, WayfinderWoman is extending the support available at their drop-in advice centre, to any women from Ukraine who are worried about their families or friends and who want to come together in a supportive environment to talk. 

They are also able to help women with all things digital via their Digital Ambassador program.  This includes accessing sites online, filling in forms, using social media and printing documents, Monday – Fridays mornings between 10.00 and 1.00pm.

People Matter
People Matter is a locally-based employment charity that is offering its free services to Ukrainian families arriving in the area. Based in Saffrons Road (just behind Eastbourne Town Hall), the charity has already worked successfully with refugees from Syria, Sudan, Eritrea and Afghanistan, who have settled into East Sussex communities. For those feeling prepared or able to work, People Matter is ready to help with advice, CV writing, coaching and even potential job-matching with employers. For further information, please call 01323 431289 or email reception@people-matter.org.uk

National Rail – Displaced Persons Travel Scheme

To help Ukrainian nationals travelling to the United Kingdom, most public transport operators, including National Rail, are offering free onward travel to get you to a safe place. The offer is valid across all National Rail train operators, light rail services and the majority of bus and coach services in England, Scotland, and Wales, and you will have 48 hours from arrival in the UK to complete your journey.

You will also be able to travel free across London using London Underground, Docklands Light Railway (DLR) and London bus and tram services so you can reach your destination as quickly as possible.

To make use of this scheme, you will need to show your Ukrainian passport and a boarding pass or ticket showing your arrival into the UK.

Use the journey planner below to help find your journey.

Щоб допомогти українцям, які прибувають до Сполученого Королівства, більшість транспортних операторів, включаючи Національну залізницю, пропонують безкоштовний доїзд до вашого місця безпеки. Ця пропозиція дійсна для всіх операторів Національної залізниці, легких залізниць та більшості міських та міжміських автобусів в Англії, Шотландії та Уельсі, і у вас буде 48 годин з часу прибуття в Сполучене Королівство, щоб завершити свою подорож.

Ви також зможете безкоштовно подорожувати через Лондон на лондонському метрополітені, легкій залізниці Доклендс (DLR) та лондонських автобусах і трамваях, щоб ви могли дістатися до вашого місця призначення якомога скоріше.

Щоб скористатися з цієї програми, вам буде потрібно пред’явити свій український паспорт, а також посадковий талон або квиток, який показує ваше прибуття до Сполученого Королівства.

Скористайтеся планувальником подорожі нижче, щоб спланувати свою поїздку.

Concentus, Eastbourne’s choir with a heart

Concentus, Eastbourne’s choir with a heart, is opening its doors and choir books to any adult friends from the Ukraine who are local to the area and wish to come along and sing for a couple of hours on a Monday evening. Our members come from Bexhill in the east, Seaford in the west, Hailsham in the north and all areas in between.

If you have travelled to the UK and can get to Willingdon Secondary School, Broad Road, Eastbourne on a Monday evening 7.15pm to 9.30pm you are welcome to come along and sing with us for no charge. All music will be provided.

We know the power of singing in a group and the mental and physical benefits to all.

This offer also extends to a member of your host family too.

If you have any queries, please contact us on info@concentus-sings.com or call Louise on 07799116653.

You will be guaranteed a very warm welcome.

приходь і співай з нами (translated means, 'Come and sing with us'!)

How to report information about possible war crimes in Ukraine

The Metropolitan Police is supporting the International Criminal Court (ICC) investigation regarding possible war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity in Ukraine.

Столична поліція підтримує розслідування Міжнародного кримінального суду (МКС) щодо можливих військових злочинів, геноциду та злочинів проти людства в Україні.

Reporting international war crimes - leaflet in English and Ukrainian