Herefordshire can expect a third as many again on top of the more than 500 Ukrainian refugees already in the county as the cost of supporting them mounts.
Herefordshire Council announced has approved a spending package of more than £1.8 million to support new and existing arrivals from the war-torn country, which will be fully met by the Government.
The council admitted that “little is known about the families that are arriving from Ukraine and what their needs might be”, but that it was putting extra resources into supporting families as they arrive.
Up to £774,000 will go to the council’s early help team, “to ensure that families arriving from Ukraine are adequately supported as they resettle into the county”.
Up to £389,000, depending on how many guests arrive, will go on setting up and maintaining a team to run the Homes for Ukraine sponsorship scheme locally. A further £78,000 will be spent administering a community integration grant scheme, and £30,000 on co-ordination within the council’s Talk Community team.
Up to £308,000 will go towards translation and interpretation services, up to £105,000 on housing support, up to £60,000 on children’s safeguarding, and a further £42,000 to carry out DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) checks.
The council says that to date, 509 guests have already arrived through the Homes for Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme. Of these 188 are under 18, and 130 have been placed in schools locally. At least 188 local sponsors have signed up to house and support them.
This figure does not include Ukrainians who have arrived in the county by other means.
“Government data indicates that Herefordshire can expect at least another 171 guests,” the council said. But its financial projections work on the figure potentially rising to 900.
Meanwhile grants already distributed locally are helping guests and sponsors
The Church of England’s Hereford Diocese has received grants totalling £115,000, not all from Herefordshire Council,
The diocese has helped find homes for about 250 Ukrainians locally since the sponsorship scheme began in March, and continues to provide support to both parties.
Its lead worker on the project Wendy Coombey said: “The scheme faces a number of challenges which we must address, particularly with housing and transport.
“These grants will ensure we sustain support and continue to offer advice making our Ukrainian guests feel welcome in this county.”