WEST Devon is now home to 139 Ukrianians from 51 family groups who are fleeing the war in Ukraine.

In neighbouring South Hams there are 155 Ukrainians from 66 family groups.

Working with the voluntary sector and Devon County Council, both West Devon Borough Councils and South Hams District Council continue to play an important role in delivering the ‘Homes for Ukraine’ scheme and helping Ukrainians beyond their initial six-month sponsorship.

Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the Government launched the ‘Homes for Ukraine’ scheme. At the time both councils were called upon to provide a range of services to facilitate the scheme. This included carrying out property checks before Ukrainians arrive, conducting welcome visits once they have settled and ensuring support to meet their immediate needs

Together West Devon and South Hams have created a shared project team to ensure that both councils are as effective as possible in meeting the needs of the guests and their hosts.

Support has also been commissioned from both the Citizens Advice (CA) and the Council for Voluntary Sector (CVS).

Citizens Advice is providing support to individuals who require help with claiming benefits, jobs, childcare, and immigration enquiries and the CVS have supported with arranging community events and supporting volunteers and support groups.

Cllr Neil Jory, leader of West Devon Borough Council, said: ‘Opening your home to a family in need is a huge act of kindness. Many of our hosts have gone above and beyond what is expected of them to ensure that the Ukrainian families are supported to settle in and access services. We cannot thank them enough for their generosity.

‘However, the host placements are not sustainable long term with some placements only being available for a few more months due to other commitments.

‘It is important that we continue to pull together as a community to support these families to access alternate host placements and, where possible, long term independent accommodation options.’

Anyone who wishes to offer self-contained rental accommodation to a Ukrainian household is encouraged to contact SeaMoor Lettings on [email protected].

For further information on becoming a host please visit; The link to obtain information on hosting is: www.gov.uk/guidance/homes-for-ukraine-sponsor-guidance

The link to register as a host is: www.gov.uk/register-interest-homes-ukraine

West Devon Borough Council is taking a report to the next meeting of its Executive and Hub Committee this month explaining how the scheme has worked, what the councils have done to facilitate the scheme and their concerns for the coming months.