Host families for Ukranian refugees

14 December 2022

We continue to be incredibly grateful to our host families of their support of our Ukrainian guests. To let you know that your January ‘thank you’ payment was issued on 28 December. 

28 September 2022

Update for Ukrainian guests and hosts

We are mindful that some of the hosting arrangements are approaching the six-month mark. We know that the uncertainty about housing is unsettling for guests and hosts alike; please be assured we are doing all we can to support you.

For our Ukrainian guests

  • If your housing arrangement is coming to an end, please let us know via this
  • We will work with you to find you alternative accommodation, which could be with another host.
  • As you will appreciate, we will work to resolve the most imminent housing requests as a priority.

For our hosts

  • If you would like to end your arrangement with your Ukrainian guests, please discuss it with them directly in the first instance. We would ask that you provide at least two months’ notice.
  • You can notify us of your end date via this email: and we will work with your Ukrainian guest(s) to find alternative accommodation.

What is Elmbridge Borough Council doing to support Ukrainian guests?

Our response is twofold:

  1. The first based on the immediate housing needs of our guests
    We are working with partner agencies, including Elmbridge CAN, to minimise the likelihood of homelessness.                Elmbridge CAN have a small pool of reserve sponsors to help house our Ukrainian guests. 
    Additionally, we are helping families into the private-rented accommodation where this is a suitable option for them,      as well as reaching out to housing providers across Elmbridge to ask for their help too. 
  2. The second based on advocating for our guests with Government.
    We are writing to Ministers to express our concerns and make clear the difficulties that this is posing for the families,              hosts and local authorities. 
    We will also push for changes to the scheme to help incentivise sponsors to continue to host and to properly resource  move-on accommodation where placements can’t continue. 

We want to avoid a situation where hosting arrangements end without suitable alternative housing in place for the guests and will do all we can to avoid that situation.

Updated: 21 April 2022

Information for Homes for Ukraine hosts

Thank you for volunteering to take part in Homes for Ukraine and accepting these guests into your home. Elmbridge Borough Council is working closely with Surrey County Council and other district and borough councils in Surrey to provide support and assistance to hosts and guests. Please email to answer any queries.

Please note, we are unable to help with enquiries relating to visa applications as the Home Office only share a status update with us. Accommodation and DBS checks are being run separately from the Visa process and will not impact the visa application of Ukrainian guests. 

Host family checks

The Home Office will conduct standard security checks on all adults aged 18 and over who will be living in the same household as the guests. This includes checks against government records and those of other third parties such as the Police National Computer, or its equivalent in Northern Ireland. The Home Office will make these checks when considering the visa application. There will be no cost to host families for these checks. 

Accommodation checks

We are currently booking appointments and we will prioritise households where guests have arrived or were due to arrive imminently. During these checks officers will need access to your entire property to assess its suitability and safety. 

DBS Checks

DBS checks will be started at your home visit; however, we are also offering appointments at the Civic Centre.  Please email if you would like to book an appointment at the Civic Centre.

Every person over 16 in the host household will require a DBS check.

  • If your guests have children living with them, an Enhanced DBS check (including a check of the children’s barred list) will be undertaken, for all those who are 16 or over in the sponsor household who are not related to the guest.
  • If the local authority decides, while undertaking other checks, that an adult guest requires additional support due to age, disability or illness, that an unrelated sponsor or adult aged 16 or over within the sponsor’s household intends to provide, then the local authority may ask for an Enhanced DBS check (including a check of the adults’ barred list) to be undertaken on any members of the sponsor’s household who is to provide that support.
  • In all other circumstances, where sponsors are accommodating guests in their own home, all members of the household who are 16 or over will need to undergo a basic DBS check regardless of their relationship to the guests.  

Guidance of the documents you will need are available on the government website


Every person 16 or over will need to provide the relevant documents and either be at the home visit or book an appointment.

£200 Subsistence payments

These £200 per guest payments will be made available as soon as guests have arrived. These can be handed out at the home visit or they can be collected from the Civic Centre. Please email after your guests arrive and we will get in touch to arrange releasing these payment cards as a matter of urgency. 

Thank you payments

You have the option to receive a monthly payment of £350 for up to 12 months, paid in arrears, for as long as you are hosting your guests and that the accommodation provided is of a suitable standard. You will be eligible for the first monthly payment once the local council has visited to check the standard of the accommodation.

For sponsors who receive welfare payments, the government is ensuring ‘thank you’ payments, they do not affect your benefit entitlement. ‘Thank you’ payments will not affect any council tax discounts for single occupancy. They will be tax free.

If your guest moves out of your home for any reason, you must inform your local council at the earliest opportunity as you will need to let them know that you are no longer eligible for the monthly payments.

In order to be eligible to receive a thank you payment you must have completed all the checks.  These include:

  • Accommodation visit
  • DBS for everyone 16 or over in the household that is habitually resident
  • Follow up property visit once the Ukrainians have arrived


We are contacting hosts to book in and complete checks.  To check if any action needs to be taken to complete the checks, please contact us at

Advice and assistance

As a sponsor, you’re here to support and help your guests to adapt to life in the UK. The first thing to do will be to make sure they’re comfortable in their accommodation and setup with the basics. They should have enough food and essential supplies like toiletries and it’s worth checking that they’ve got access to a mobile phone and the internet so they can stay in touch with family and friends.

Access to public services

You should try to help direct your guests to public services. 

Surrey County Council has set up an information page providing the following information:

  • Free rail travel for refugees on arrival in Great Britain
  • What to do if you are entering the UK with your pet
  • Surrey's Family Information Service is a free information and signposting service for families with children aged 0 to 19 (up to 25 years for those with additional needs)
  • Getting your children into a school for education
  • Childcare
  • Mental health and emotional wellbeing support
  • Adult Social Care - getting support for a vulnerable adult
  • Financial, health and welfare support in Surrey
  • Who can you call in an emergency?

Barnardo’s free helpline to support Ukrainian families

The conflict and ongoing violence in Ukraine have caused families to forcibly leave their homes, in search of safety, with many arriving in the UK. 

In response to this, following discussion with the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain, Barnardo’s has set up the Ukrainian Support Helpline to provide a holistic support service. The helpline is available to anyone fleeing the conflict in Ukraine. 

Barnardo’s free helpline (0800 148 8586) is staffed by English, Ukrainian and Russian speakers, to offer support to children and families arriving in the UK from Ukraine. 

The helpline is open Monday – Friday (10:00am – 8:00pm) and Saturday (10:00am – 3:00pm). Callers will be able to get help and advice on a range of topics. 

A dedicated email address and webpage have also been set up for those assisting with the Ukraine response. 

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