A survey carried out with Ukrainian guests welcomed to the city last year has shown housing is a key concern.
Following the city's rapid move to welcome and support Ukrainian refugees a year ago, we contacted Ukrainian guests to gain a deeper understanding of their experiences and concerns, and help us plan future support.
Designed with the Ukrainian community and translated into Ukrainian, the survey told us that an overwhelming majority of participants feel very welcome in our city.
The help of a host has in fact been identified as the most positive factor after their arrival, with the support of a community, accessible education and a safe and friendly environment appearing as reoccurring themes in guests’ testimonies.
This is encouraging feedback for the city’s commitment to building a sustainable welcome infrastructure for refugees as a City of Sanctuary.
Alongside housing, language provision (ESOL), financial resources, employment, access to health care, and integration have been identified as key priorities for Ukrainian refugees.
All this information will inform services provided by the council, the community and voluntary sector and businesses in the city including the council's new Ukrainian Refugee grant programme to be launched later this month.
Despite a general trend of growth in employment of newly arrived Ukrainians, the majority have reported being unemployed, working in unrelated fields such as hospitality and food production or working at more junior positions than in Ukraine.
The survey suggests the level of education among our Ukrainian guests is quite high – almost half have a bachelor’s or higher degree, over a third with a master’s or higher.
As indicated by the survey, one of the main obstacles in finding suitable employment is an insufficient grasp of the English language.
Appeal for more hosts
The Homes for Ukraine scheme, under which British residents could commit to housing a Ukrainian guest, reached its first anniversary on 14 March.
With the conflict showing no signs of resolution and most Ukrainians nearing the end of their agreed period of stay with their hosts, many of them face the anxiety of what’s next.
Most respondents expressed the desire to explore the private rental market after the end of their sponsorship, which comes with its own set of challenges.
Over one third of respondents have been in touch with our housing team for support to find accommodation, or don’t know what they will do upon leaving their host.
We’re encouraging hosts to extend the accommodation where they can and appealing for more Homes for Ukraine hosts.
We're looking for hosts who can commit to at least 6 months.
Hosts receive £350 per month as a thank you payment. They also get information, advice and support from our Ukrainian Response team.
In recognition of ongoing support amid the rising cost of living, hosts will receive an increased ‘thank you’ payment of £500 a month for guests who have been in the country for over a year.
If you'd like to find out more, phone 01273 293 117 and choose option 2 or send an email to Ukrainian.firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’re currently holding information, advice and support drop-ins for Ukrainian refugees, hosts and anyone considering becoming a host at Jubilee Library from 10am to 12.30pm.
You can also read more in our supporting the Ukrainian humanitarian crisis webpages.