South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse district councils are redeploying staff across their organisations to ensure Ukrainian refugees moving to the districts get the support and help they need.
As part of their ongoing support and commitment, the councils have started to call the households across South and Vale that have applied to be hosts under the government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme.
Council officers are then providing home visits to those households to prepare for the arrival of the families that have fled the war in Ukraine.
The district councils are part of a county-wide system that will provide ‘wrap-around care’ for the refugees, such as offering help with health care needs, mental health counselling, schooling and finding work.
This includes working closely with the health sector, other local councils, the government, and the voluntary community sector.
The councils have also set up a special helpline for hosts and their guests to call should they need any help or advice in the coming weeks and months. They can call 01235 422600 and press option one or send emails to email@example.com.
Councillor David Rouane, Leader of South Oxfordshire District Council, said: “We continue to stand with our communities and offer our support to those fleeing a terrible war and a humanitarian crisis.
“Our residents and businesses have been so generous in coming forward to support our Ukrainian guests. We echo that and are dedicating specialist resources to ensure our guests’ immediate needs are met.”
Councillor Emily Smith, Leader of Vale of White Horse District Council, said: “We are fully committed to stepping up and providing every bit of support we can to anybody who has had their lives overturned by tyranny. We are proud to do so, and along with our communities, we offer the warmest possible welcome on their arrival.”
In Oxfordshire, over 200 visas have been issued under the Homes for Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme as of 06 April. The breakdown across the districts is as follows:
South Oxfordshire 57
West Oxfordshire 40
Vale of White Horse 39
The councils will be contacting all potential hosts as soon as possible. However, there is increasing frustration at delays in the visa process as new figures show that just 12,000 Ukrainians have reached Britain, despite receiving 79,800 visa applications and issuing over 40,000 visas.