First Ukrainian refugees arrive in Doncaster as a number of borough families offer their homes to those fleeing invasion

A number of Doncaster families have offered their homes to Ukrainian refugees but the process for their arrivals is still in the early stages.

By George Torr, Local Democracy Reporter
Monday, 28th March 2022, 3:27 pm

Council bosses did not reveal how many families had signed up for the Government-backed ‘Homes for Ukraine’ scheme but said they were supporting a ‘number of sponsors in Doncaster’.

It’s understood that some refugees fleeing the Russian invasion have already arrived in Doncaster through other schemes, particularly those with family links to those already living in the borough.

The council also said that it had built ‘strong links’ with the Doncaster Ukrainian Centre in order to facilitate supplies to those fleeing the conflict.

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Ukrainian refugees board a train en route to Warsaw at the railway station in Przemysl, near the Polish-Ukrainian border, on March 27, 2022, following Russia's invasion of Ukraine about one month ago. - More than 3.8 million people have fled Ukraine since Russia's invasion a month ago, UN figures showed on March 27, 2022, but the flow of refugees has slowed down markedly. The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, said 3,821,049 Ukrainians had fled the country -- an increase of 48,450 from the figures on March 26. Around 90 percent of them are women and children, it added. (Photo by Angelos Tzortzinis / AFP) (Photo by ANGELOS TZORTZINIS/AFP via Getty Images)

It’s thought that there are 3.7 million Ukrainian refugees with the majority heading to neighbouring Poland.

The Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, Michael Gove launched a web page for sponsors to record their interest in hosting people.

The Homes for Ukraine scheme allows individuals, charities, community groups and businesses in the UK to bring Ukrainians to safety – including those with no family ties to the UK.

Phase One of the scheme will allow sponsors in the UK to nominate a named Ukrainian or a named Ukrainian family to stay with them in their home or in a separate property.

Debbie John-Lewis, assistant director of communities at Doncaster Council, said: “We are still in the early stages of a fast moving situation but making huge progress in a multi-agency response preparing for the arrival of Ukrainian guests.

“At the moment we have no confirmed arrival dates for guests via the ‘Homes for Ukraine’ scheme, though we are in contact with and supporting a number of sponsors in Doncaster who have offered their homes as part of the scheme.

“We also know that some guests have already arrived in Doncaster via other schemes, in particular the ‘Ukraine Family Scheme’.

“We have built a strong link with the Doncaster Ukrainian Centre, and will continue to work closely with partners across our community to support all guests arriving here with empathy, compassion and dignity.”

Local Government Association Chairman, Coun James Jamieson added: “Councils will be central in helping families settle into their communities and access public services, including schools, public health and other support, including access to trauma counselling.”