The Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022 sparked the largest refugee crisis since the Second World War and in response, the UK Government put in place two schemes to help those fleeing their homeland.
Since the launch of these schemes, 574 residents of Hertfordshire have stepped forward and offered their homes to Ukrainian refugees and over 1,600 refugees have been matched with residents.
To support potential sponsors, Hertfordshire County Council (HCC) has been working closely with partners as part of Hertfordshire’s Strategic Migration Steering Group. The group brings together partners from the county, District and Borough councils, along with stakeholders from the health and voluntary sectors. Part of the work Hertfordshire is undertaking involves ensuring that potential sponsors are subject to a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) background check where a host is welcoming adults, and an enhanced DBS check where children will be housed. Other checks include district and borough council’s assessing properties.
Once HCC have been advised by the sponsor that their Ukrainian families have arrived, a further welfare check will be conducted by the county council to address any safeguarding needs, while further support and assistance will be offered to new arrivals with children to facilitate their transition into school life in Hertfordshire.
Scott Crudgington, Deputy Chief Executive of Hertfordshire County Council said: “People across Hertfordshire have been rightly appalled by the terrible scenes of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and I’m proud to see so many stepping forward to offer their own homes as a sanctuary to those fleeing the horrors of war.
“Officers at Hertfordshire County Council are now working tirelessly to co-ordinate efforts with our partners to meet the longer term needs of those arriving in our county.
“We recognise the best outcomes come when we work together with our valued partners including the county’s district councils, business, charity, community and voluntary sectors and also the sponsors themselves.”
Stephen Craker, Chief Executive of Communities 1st and Local Lead for the Voluntary & Community Sector Emergency Partnership (VCSEO) across South-East England said:”It’s difficult to comprehend the trauma and distress that the people of Ukraine are experiencing. We want to help communities in Hertfordshire create an environment that offers support and comfort to those who have been forced to flee their homes. In our role as one of the seven providers of Community Help Hertfordshire, a partnership of voluntary sector organisations, we are working with district councils, the county council and a range of charities, including, refugee organisations to provide the right support at the right time to those arriving as part of the Homes for Ukraine scheme.”
Hertfordshire County Council has set up bespoke dual-language web pages to support sponsors and Ukrainian citizens arriving in the county www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/ukraine