Wanted – more households to support refugee schem

A total of 76 households in Bridgend County Borough have come forward to support Ukrainian refugees fleeing from the Russian invasion of their homeland and to offer them somewhere safe to live – but more are urgently needed.

Designed to help people who do not have family members in the UK, the Homes For Ukraine scheme enables residents to act as sponsors, and to make space within their own homes for individuals and families who are fleeing the war.

Each host household taking part in the scheme receives a payment of £350 per month, while refugees receive an interim payment of £200 per person.

Extensive safeguarding and background checks are carried out before each placement, and the council and its partners provide further support ranging from English language lessons, advice on how to access education, health and financial services, employability, how to apply for a bus pass and more.

Throughout the sponsorship period, host households and refugees also receive ongoing guidance and advice, and a dedicated team from Taff Housing is being set up to further facilitate this while additional options are being explored in partnership with Halo Leisure and the Bridgend Association Of Voluntary Organisations.

To date, 129 refugees have been welcomed into Bridgend County Borough as part of the scheme. Fourteen additional sponsors have been identified, and a further 16 households are currently undergoing checks and processing.

However, with Home Office approval in place for 155 visa applications and a further 52 still being processed, there is an urgent need for more host households to come forward.

Cllr Rhys Goode, Cabinet Member for Wellbeing and Future Generations, said: “I have had the privilege to meet a few of our guests from Ukraine, and I was blown away by their strength and their appreciation of the support that the people of Bridgend County Borough and the local authority has given them.

“Nevertheless, we can always do more. With 54 Syrians and 11 Afghans already integrated into communities throughout Bridgend County Borough, we have a strong record of supporting refugees who are fleeing conflict, and will continue to look for ways of offering help and support in the coming weeks and months.

“Many refugees from the conflict in Ukraine continue to arrive in Wales, and while we work alongside Welsh Government to ensure they have a warm welcome, we continue to seek the generosity of our residents in providing host accommodation.

“If you are in a position to consider hosting and sponsoring refugees fleeing from the conflict in Ukraine, please visit our website to find out how you can help, and get in touch to let us know.”

Anyone who is interested in learning more about becoming a sponsor for a refugee family can find more details within the Ukrainian refugee support page at the council website, www.bridgend.gov.uk, or by emailing UkraineResponse@bridgend.gov.uk