Today (24 August) is Ukraine Independence Day, and if you pass the Guildhall in the market square you will see the Ukraine flag flying and, once it's dark, the building lit up in blue and yellow, as Cambridge continues to #StandWithUkraine. Slava Ukraini!
When the war began 1.5 years ago, hundreds of Cambridge households opened their homes to people from Ukraine through the Homes for Ukraine scheme. Currently over 100 are still hosting. To support the scheme, the council conducts safeguarding and accommodation checks on hosts, and processes monthly ‘Thank You’ payments for hosts – in Cambridge these payments are £500.
The council also works to support people from Ukraine to find longer term accommodation once their hosting arrangements come to an end. We have supported 120 Ukrainian households so far to find suitable longer-term accommodation, and to settle in, providing advice, and essential household items where needed.
Over the year and a half since the war started, well over 500 guests have relocated from Ukraine to Cambridge through the Homes for Ukraine scheme, with the council processing initial subsistence payments which are available to every guest. The council also provides regular advice and useful information about the support available in the UK generally – such as about help to find work, school places, accessing health care and applying for benefits – as well as in Cambridge – such as signposting to Cambridge 4 Ukraine or Mums 4 Ukraine, or to legal advice, including that provided by Cambridge Ethnic Community Forum.
In October 2022 the council launched a new grant: the United with Ukraine community grant. The grant allows local community groups, small groups of residents, and organisations to apply for funding to run activities to support refugees fleeing war in Ukraine.
The grant scheme has two funding tiers: community groups or small groups of residents can apply for up to £2,000; constituted not-for-profit organisations with a track record can apply for up to £5,000.
So far we’ve awarded over £60,000, which has funded projects including employment support and entrepreneurship programmes, welcome packs and aid hubs, wellbeing craft workshops, Ukraine supplementary schools, English lessons, family excursions, and information sessions that help people navigate life in the UK.