Merton Council has launched a digital hub for sponsors and guests within the borough participating in the Homes for Ukraine scheme. The Government-run scheme, which encourages members of the public to offer rooms in their houses to refugees fleeing the fighting in their country, swung into action last Friday.
The scheme has seen phenomenal public interest, with more than 150,000 people across the country registering to host Ukrainians, and hundreds of Merton residents have already been matched with refugees or will be in the coming weeks.
If you are a sponsor and have registered for the scheme and been allocated an individual or family to host, this page will be your one-stop shop for local information about the scheme, where you can find out about all the council resources that you and your guests can access.
It’s also for guests to find out information about how they can register for interim payments, and get help with education provision for children, find referrals to health care and other services, and sort out benefits and begin their journey into work through setting up national insurance accounts, among other things.
There is also information for residents who haven’t registered for the scheme but would like to help through donating to charities helping people in Ukraine, or else by volunteering to work with organisations who are working on the ground in the borough and beyond.
This page will be regularly updated as phases of the scheme are announced. We will be sending out weekly updates in our email newsletter – sign up here – and will be posting stories on social media with the hashtag #Merton4Ukraine.
Slawek Szczepanski, CEO of Polish Family Association, and Naomi Martin, Director of the Commonside Trust, said: “We are very proud to be standing together in a strong partnership with Merton Council and through Merton Connected with all interested agencies and individuals and to head up Merton’s support service programme for refugees from Ukraine, delivering from our community hub at the New Horizon Centre.
“We know that in the midst of the horrors of the war in Ukraine, we are in the right place at the right time to offer the very best of Merton’s hospitality, care and support.”
Mark Williams, Head of Fundraising and Communications at Wimbledon Guild, said: “Like all of us, we have been watching the terrible situation in the Ukraine and everyone at Wimbledon Guild is keen to do what we can to help. We are looking forward to working alongside our community partners, helping make sure that all refugees and their host families have somewhere to turn to when they need support.”
Councillor Mark Allison, Leader of Merton Council, said: “We’re so proud that so many residents of the borough have registered with the Homes for Ukraine scheme and will be throwing open their homes to refugees in their hour of need.
“As a council we will do everything to support sponsors and their guests, many of whom will have witnessed extremely distressing scenes during the last few weeks, as they start a new chapter of their lives in Merton.
“All information will be hosted on the council’s website for the foreseeable future, and we will be working with long-standing partners in the community such as Polish Families Association, Age UK and Wimbledon Guild to ensure as seamless a welcome as possible to guests.
“If you haven’t been able to participate with the scheme but would like to help Ukraine, there is a list of charities who are working on the ground in the country on the page who you can donate to.
“Ласкаво просимо у Мертон!”
You can find the website here, and it will be updated on a regular basis.