Lancashire welcomes 623 refugees after thousands of people sign up to Homes for Ukraine scheme

Hundreds of Ukrainian refugees are settling into new homes in Lancashire after a massive collective effort from the county.

By Wes Holmes
Wednesday, 27th April 2022, 3:45 pm
Updated Thursday, 28th April 2022, 1:32 pm

Some 623 Ukrainians have been matched to properties in the area through the Government's Homes for Ukraine scheme, which encourages members of the public to offer rooms in their houses to families and individuals fleeing the Russian invasion.

The scheme is being led by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and the Home Office, with the Lancashire Refugee Integration Team and Lancashire Resilience Forum organising the county-wide response.

Rebecca Joy Novell, refugee resettlement and asylum dispersal contract manager for the Lancashire Refugee Integration Team, said: "Staff and volunteers are working around the clock to support the families and individuals fleeing Ukraine.

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Lancashire lights up for Ukraine

"It is a huge undertaking, but everyone is pulling together to make sure our new arrivals settle into their new lives in Lancashire.

"We're also taking numerous steps to support our sponsors, who have shown incredible generosity by opening up their homes to help those in desperate need."

So far, 4,212 Lancashire people have volunteered to open their homes to refugees.

Once registered, their property will be checked by the district authority on behalf of Lancashire County Council, which is also undertaking enhanced DBS checks for every person over 16 in the household.

The authority’s Family Wellbeing Service provides welfare checks on every family arriving from Ukraine, while commissioned casework staff provide welfare checks on single adults.

Police and the Pan Lancashire Anti-Slavery Partnerships are also involved to ensure safeguarding is maintained.

Rob Dobson, head of policy and engagement at Burnley Council, said: "We're delighted to be able to give a warm Lancashire welcome to families who have fled their country to escape this tragic war and provide somewhere safe for them to recover from their ordeal.

"We'll continue to work closely with hosts and partners to ensure our visitors settle quickly into life here.”

Meanwhile, the NHS is providing access to the full range of healthcare services for those entering the UK from Ukraine.

Dr Lindsey Dickinson, associate medical director for primary and community care in Lancashire and South Cumbria, said: “The NHS is incredibly proud to be working closely with partners across Lancashire and South Cumbria to provide a safe and welcoming space for those fleeing the war in Ukraine.

“Everyone has a right to register with a GP and you do not need proof of address, immigration status, ID or an NHS number so we would encourage those entering the UK to register with a local practice as soon as possible for access to a range of healthcare services.

“The Covid-19 vaccination is also available, with bookable appointment and walk-in options for those eligible, to continue to provide our communities with the best possible protection against Covid-19."

For more information about the Homes for Ukraine scheme, visit the Lancashire County Council website.