Kyiv asks more Britons to take in Ukrainians

More than 100,000 people are living in the UK under Ukrainian refugee programme

Ukrainians wait during a stopover in Warsaw, Poland, en route to the UK. AP
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Ukraine's ambassador to the UK has implored British households to take in more refugees, as it was announced that sponsors would receive an increased “thank-you” payment for their help.

Vadym Prystaiko thanked the British people for their generosity in coming to the aid of those fleeing the Russian invasion.

But he added that “some still need your help” as he called for “those who can” to open their doors to families displaced from their homeland.

As part of the UK’s response to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s attack on Ukraine that began in February of last year, ministers established the Homes for Ukraine programme, with thousands of volunteers coming forward to offer shelter to refugees.

Close to 118,000 Ukrainians have been invited into British homes since the programme began, according to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

But with the war in Eastern Europe still raging, officials said there are still Ukrainians looking to be matched with new sponsors.

To strengthen support for households and councils taking in refugees, the UK government has announced increased funding.

The levelling-up department has recently written to all those who have previously expressed interest in becoming Homes For Ukraine hosts to thank them for coming forward to offer their help in matching Ukrainian families with new hosts.

Those hosting Ukrainians who have already been in the UK for more than 12 months will be entitled to increased “thank you” payments as part of an incentive to take people in.

Hosts are currently paid £350 ($430) per month as a “thank you” payment, subject to the accommodation they have to offer.

Other measures announced on Saturday include per capita funding for councils for each new arrival including £150 million (£182 million) to support guests in their own homes.

Ukrainian ambassador Vadym Prystaiko thanked the British people for their generosity in coming to the aid of those fleeing conflict in Ukraine. PA

About £11.5 million will be given towards intensive English language courses and employment support for up to 10,000 people to boost the number of Ukrainians entering the labour market.

A total of £100 million will be given to 145 councils in England by the end of March as part of the £500 million Local Authority Housing Fund to help obtain, repurpose or build housing for arrivals on resettlement programmes, department officials said.

With England due to take on Ukraine in a qualifying match for the men’s Euro 2024 football competition on Sunday, ministers have offered 1,000 free tickets to Ukrainians and their sponsors to attend the match at Wembley Stadium.

“I am honoured and humbled by your country's generosity and am grateful to all the local councils and all the families who have opened up their homes, their hearts and sometimes wallets to Ukrainians fleeing from the horrors of war,” Mr Prystaiko said.

“160,000 Ukrainian women and children have reached British shores and have been welcomed in your communities and schools.

“But some still need your help.

“The unprovoked and unjustified war still rages in the Ukraine and I ask those who can, please come forward and offer your support.”

Updated: March 25, 2023, 12:05 AM

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