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Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the start of the UK’s Homes for Ukraine programme in 2022, Refugee Action has been supporting newly-arrived refugees from the region through our services across the West Midlands and north west of England.

The services are commissioned by local authorities and delivered in partnership with local organisations and housing associations.

The wraparound support we provide is focused on enabling people to be fully independent and integrated into their communities as early as possible and ensuring they do not become dependent on external support beyond their first year in the UK.

Angela’s Story

Only days after Angela finished and graduated with her masters in linguistics, her home country was invaded.

“The family I live with helped me a lot. They introduced me to Refugee Action, who helped me access wellbeing support and financial assistance. They connected me with my caseworker Sarah. She’s lovely.”

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What does the service provide?

Arrivals: support and information on arrival, including pre-paid SIM cards, bus travel card, health and safety information and emergency contacts

Health care: Support accessing health services, including assistance with GP registration, dentists, pharmacies, as well as support in accessing mental health services, as well as other health needs as appropriate, visiting clients in their accommodation

Benefits: support completing benefits and National Insurance Number applications

Education: we have specialist Education Placement Coordinators supporting families and children, including support with school applications, admissions, transport and issues like uniforms

Learning English: supporting assessments of English language competencies and access to appropriate levels of learning opportunities

Employment and training: supporting access to training opportunities and steps into paid employment

Social care, safeguarding and support: processing DBS checks for Hosts and relevant family members

Wellbeing support: support with clothing, food, and access to wellbeing activities

General orientation and community integration: promoting independence and participation in community activities and community life

Housing: supporting families around the complex housing move on process, providing all the holistic support needed in relation to this very challenging part of the process

Legal support: Supported refugees with immigration legal issues through access to OISC-regulated immigration legal advice

We also…

Work with refugees and hosts to identify any additional needs and referrals to relevant services and support.

Rematch families when there is a breakdown in communication.

Identify and manage an emerging safeguarding risks.

The Homes for Ukraine scheme is unprecedented in its size, structure and speed of rollout. It had to be built quickly from scratch.

It also introduced a whole new approach to refugee resettlement through the introduction of host families.

As a result, there were many challenges in rolling out and scaling up the services.

We’re focused on working with hosts, refugee families and the wider local community to continue to build, develop and strengthen a service that supports all refugees to rebuild their lives in safety.

Image credits
Top image: Photo © John Sutton (cc-by-sa/2.0)
Other images licenced under Creative Commons.