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Winchester City of Sanctuary are not yet providing direct support to those affected by the war in Ukraine but we are exploring what support we can provide to those seeking sanctuary in Winchester and regionally. We will update our website and instagram page with any local developments shortly. We already have a number of sanctuary projects underway locally, and are discussing responses with partners locally. At present, there is insufficient information from the UK Government about how the Home for Ukraine scheme will operate in practice with regard to matching, vetting and safeguarding etc and this is key information for planning any response.

If you are already supporting someone seeking sanctuary locally, including anyone from Ukraine and require additional support please get in touch to discuss further. Contact us via [email protected]

The government has now launched the Homes for Ukraine scheme.

The Homes for Ukraine website says that if you are interested in becoming a sponsor then you can record your interest as an individual or as an organisation (for example charity, business, community group).  In the first phase of the scheme, sponsors will be able to bring named Ukrainians and their immediate family members to the UK. 

The government scheme website states, ‘This bespoke 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 and provide a route to safety for Ukrainians, and their immediate family members, forced to escape their homeland.

Sponsors should provide accommodation for as long as they are able, but we have a minimum expectation of 6 months.

Someone is eligible for the scheme if they are a Ukrainian national or the immediate family member of a Ukrainian national, and were resident in Ukraine prior to 1 January 2022.’

FAQs on the scheme are available here from the Department for Levelling up, Housing and Communities.

RESET are a registered charity experienced in community sponsorship of refugees. Reset Communities and Refugees will be helping register and match refugees from Ukraine with sponsors across the UK. RESET are a non-profit organisation set up in 2018 to help communities welcome refugees.

If you are from Ukraine wishing to come to the UK RESET are now accepting applications  from those who have fled from Ukraine who wish to come to the UK on their Homes for Ukraine website.

If you are in the UK and interested in sponsoring a family fleeing Ukraine, you can register your interest in sponsoring a family fleeing the conflict in Ukraine at the government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme.

Once the full application process is released by the government on 18 March, RESET will be able to begin matching and introducing sponsors. Sponsors should ensure that they are signed up to the expression of interest form on gov.uk

The Sanctuary Foundation are also working with RESET but the Sanctuary Foundation are not offering a matching service at this time. The Sanctuary Foundation is a partnership between registered charities, churches and other agencies led by Dr Krish Kandiah.

If you are a Ukrainian national seeking refuge in the UK you can register with the Sanctuary Foundation but they are only keeping a record of contact details at this time so they can be used to streamline applications at a later date.

Winchester City of Sanctuary thought the following information may also be useful.

Where can I get immigration advice for Ukrainians affected by the war? 

The Ukraine Advice Project UK is a free service run by volunteer legal professionals with immigration and asylum expertise. They connect Ukrainian citizens in need of free legal advice on UK immigration, visas, and asylum with qualified and regulated lawyers. 

Settled has launched a dedicated service for Ukrainians joining EU citizen family members in the UK.

Contact: [email protected]

If you are outside of the UK, and looking for information about asylum procedures and where to go for help, please contact UNHCR. 

The Homes for Ukraine scheme has now been released and is developing at a pace. We endeavour to keep information about the scheme as up to date as possible but ask you to bear in mind that we are a voluntary organisation also working at a pace trying to keep up with the changes each day so please check frequently for updates. When further information is made available about the matching services in the UK we will update our website.