Cheshire East welcomes Ukrainian refugees

Cllrs Sam Corcoran (left) and Craig Browne

Cheshire East Council has confirmed that a number of Ukrainian refugees have arrived in the borough under the Homes for Ukraine scheme.

Speaking at a meeting of the council's corporate policy committee, on Thursday 16 April, Leader of the Council, Councillor Sam Corcoran said, "I am delighted that Cheshire East Council is playing its part in welcoming Ukrainian refugees to the country. Thirteen people have already arrived, and to you and your compatriots, I would like to say 'Welcome'."

Cheshire East Council is supporting the national Homes for Ukraine scheme. The first phase of the scheme is a sponsorship route to allow Ukrainians, who are known to sponsors in the UK, to come into the country under a visa to live, work and study in the UK and access public funds for three years.

To date, 130 sponsors across the borough have offered accommodation, with 316 Ukrainian refugees having applied for visas to come to Cheshire East.

The council has a number of responsibilities under the scheme, including safety and safeguarding checks on properties and sponsor households, managing payments and supporting school and early year placements.

Council officers are now in the process of making contact with sponsors and their Ukrainian guests, carrying out the required safety checks and arranging any additional support, including securing school places, as appropriate.

Following the meeting, Councillor Corcoran said, "These individuals and families are escaping significant peril in their home country, and we can only imagine the risks and anxiety they may experience in the journey to the UK. Many will have left loved ones behind.

"As a council, it is our job to make sure that the homes they are coming to are safe and that they can access local public services, such as health and wellbeing services and education when they arrive here."

Deputy Leader of the Council, Councillor Craig Browne said, "I would like to thank the sponsors for offering accommodation and our council officers for putting support and safeguarding arrangements in place quickly.

"I would also like to thank our partners in the voluntary sector who are providing support to sponsors and guests in local communities, the fire and rescue service for installing free smoke alarms where necessary, and our local health services and schools."

It is anticipated that Ukrainian refugees will continue to arrive in Cheshire East over the coming weeks as visas are processed by the Home Office.

The next phase of the scheme will bring together sponsors and refugees who are not known to each other. Further guidance on this scheme is yet to be released.

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