Our ongoing response to the situation in Ukraine

Homes for UkraineWays you can help

The situation in Ukraine is deeply disturbing and a concern for us all. Sadly, many hundreds of people have been killed and currently well over 3 million have been forced to flee their homes and urgently need food, water and shelter.

We have had a number of requests from parishioners and parishes asking how to best help those in need in Ukraine, and we have received many wonderful offers of help.

Caritas Northampton and CAFOD Northampton are working closely with the local offices of Caritas Ukraine, Caritas Poland and others, who are already on the ground providing practical help to those most in need.

The local Caritas offices in Ukraine are already helping thousands of internally displaced people who are now desperately searching for a safe shelter for their families, in western Ukraine and abroad. These offices are providing displaced people with essential information, food, and other items, as well as a safe and secure place to sleep, eat and wash. Caritas staff and volunteers also provide safe transport for displaced families to reach their loved ones.

As a large European country supported by neighbouring countries on their borders, Ukraine will benefit most by receiving financial support urgently, as this will allow items to be purchased and shipped where needed quickly and efficiently. At this time, financial support is much more beneficial than shipping lorry loads of goods from the UK into the war zone.

CAFOD is a member of the DEC, which has launched a national appeal matched by the government up to £20m, and our parishes can be part of the Catholic Church’s response today by giving at cafod.org.uk/ukraine

Prayers for Peace in the world

Homes for Ukraine – Humanitarian Sponsorship Scheme

The UK Government’s ‘Homes for Ukraine‘ scheme opened on 18 March 2022. This allows UK households (individuals and families) to commit to sponsoring a Ukrainian household in their home.

Ukrainians who arrive on this scheme will be given leave to remain for up to three years and will have full access to the labour market, the NHS and to some state benefits.

The diocese is working closely with a number of organisations to provide support to parishes and parishioners who would like to consider providing a home in the UK for Ukrainian families. We already have good experience and knowledge gained from bringing refugees from Syria to our diocese. It is important to be aware that there is a great deal of work to do before families arrive and the ability to match Ukrainian families with UK hosts is fundamental to this scheme.

We are currently working on a number of options for this matching service, and we hope to bring an initial group of Ukrainians over to host families as soon as possible.

While the visa and matching services are taking time to get sorted, we are encouraging parishes, pastoral areas and parishioners to make preparations for Ukrainian families once they arrive. They will need access to such things as translation assistance, support to register with a G.P and obtaining medical help, registering children in local schools, therapists that can assist with mental health and trauma issues that will no doubt arise, assistance with opening bank accounts and applying for benefits and introducing them to like minded other families in their locality so that they can support each other going forward. We also need to put in place a support network for the host families to help as and when issues arise.

Based on previous experience, we are recommending that groups of parishioners / parishes work closely together to enable several Ukrainian families to be housed in close proximity to each other. This will provide some element of community support for the families, and reduce the dangers of isolation. Parishes could hopefully provide access to facilities for the families to meet together for support and friendship. Perhaps they could watch Ukrainian films, the children could play together and practical day to day support could be provided for the group.

In addition to the parishioner providing the actual accommodation, it will be important that there are others supporting the Ukrainian family and their host. The host family will certainly need and benefit from other parishioners around them to share the load.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some current answers to frequently asked questions. If you would like to offer to host a Ukrainian family or would simply like more information please complete the enquiry form below, or call Deacon Jim on 01604 434362 or 07756 685220

What do I do if I want to sponsor but don’t know someone?

The diocese is currently working to be able to offer services to match potential sponsors and Ukrainian households seeking to come to the UK. This is an important part of the scheme and details will be available as soon as possible.

What do I do if I want to sponsor but don’t know someone?

The diocese is currently working to be able to offer services to match potential sponsors and Ukrainian households seeking to come to the UK. This is an important part of the scheme and details will be available as soon as possible.

How can I be confirmed as a sponsor?

To be confirmed as a sponsor you must be based in the UK; with at least 6 months permission to be in the UK. You can be of any nationality. You will need to prove your identity using a recognised identity document for ID check. A full list of applicable identity documents is available in the sponsor guidance but a British passport or driving license would suffice. You must also have a spare room, or separate self-contained residential accommodation that is unoccupied. The accommodation must be available for at least six months, be fit for people to live in, and suitable for the number of people to be accommodated.

What sort of room/accommodation is required?

The most important thing is that you’re able to provide at least 6 months of stable accommodation. This can be anything from an empty room to an unoccupied home, as long as it’s safe, heated and free from health hazards, and gives your guests adequate access to bathroom and kitchen facilities.

Will I be able to state any preferences?

You should consider what sort of support you are best able to provide and who you are most comfortable to support. For example, you should consider whether your accommodation is suitable for someone with a young child, the elderly or someone with a disability. You may want to consider if you are able to accommodate someone with pets. Everyone who applies to this scheme will be subject to a range of checks, including those in the sponsoring household and those coming to the UK.

What do I need to do to make sure my home is suitable for my guest?

All accommodation will be different and while there is no set expectation, your accommodation needs to be free from serious health and safety hazards. You should make sure your home is safe for your guests and that it is in a suitable condition.

You should also consider how many people you can accommodate so they have sufficient space. Two people should not be in one room unless they are: adult cohabiting partners; a parent and child; two siblings of the same gender if aged over 10; two siblings regardless of gender if aged under 10. Individuals who didn’t previously know each other should not be given the same room.

Further to this we ask that accommodation:

  • be kept clean and in a reasonable state;
  • have adequate kitchen and bathroom space;
  • have access to drinking water;
  • have a working smoke detector on each floor of the property and other fire safety precautions suitable for the building e.g. fire doors or escape routes as appropriate (further information on making a home safe from fire;
  • have a working carbon monoxide detector in any room containing a solid fuel burning appliance (e.g. a coal fire, wood burning stove);
  • have sufficient heating to keep the property at a comfortable temperature;
  • have safe gas appliances, fittings and flues and have undertaken a Gas Safety check within the last year (see more information);
  • have safe and working electrics, which a qualified electrician can help with if you are unsure;
  • be almost entirely free of damp or mould;
  • have doors and windows at entry level that lock properly;
  • be easy and safe to move around in, without excessively steep staircases that may cause harm.
What can I do to help my guest settle in?

Your guest is unlikely to be familiar with the layout of your local area or how to get around easily. Some practical advice on things like getting to and from your home, where the local shops are, and where to catch buses and trains will go a long way. As a sponsor, you’re not expected to provide transport for your guests throughout their stay.

It would be helpful to direct your guests to public services. For example, this could involve helping your guests to contact and register with a local GP and NHS dentist. Additional guidance on how to access public services can be found on the gov.uk website.

As a sponsor, the first thing to do will be to make sure guests are 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

What do I need to do to make sure my home is suitable for my guest?

All accommodation will be different and while there is no set expectation, your accommodation needs to be free from serious health and safety hazards. You should make sure your home is safe for your guests and that it is in a suitable condition.

You should also consider how many people you can accommodate so they have sufficient space. Two people should not be in one room unless they are: adult cohabiting partners; a parent and child; two siblings of the same gender if aged over 10; two siblings regardless of gender if aged under 10. Individuals who didn’t previously know each other should not be given the same room.

Further to this we ask that accommodation:

  • be kept clean and in a reasonable state;
  • have adequate kitchen and bathroom space;
  • have access to drinking water;
  • have a working smoke detector on each floor of the property and other fire safety precautions suitable for the building e.g. fire doors or escape routes as appropriate (further information on making a home safe from fire;
  • have a working carbon monoxide detector in any room containing a solid fuel burning appliance (e.g. a coal fire, wood burning stove);
  • have sufficient heating to keep the property at a comfortable temperature;
  • have safe gas appliances, fittings and flues and have undertaken a Gas Safety check within the last year (see more information);
  • have safe and working electrics, which a qualified electrician can help with if you are unsure;
  • be almost entirely free of damp or mould;
  • have doors and windows at entry level that lock properly;
  • be easy and safe to move around in, without excessively steep staircases that may cause harm.

Three WAYS to Get Involved TODAY

Donate Money

In the war region, our Caritas national sister agencies are helping people directly. CAFOD, as a member of the Disasters Emergency Committee in the UK, and is part of their joint appeal, from which those Caritas sister agencies will benefit. They have specifically asked for financial assistance rather than donations of goods at this time.

CAFOD is leading and coordinating the financial appeal in England and Wales on behalf of our sister agencies working in, and on the borders of Ukraine. CAFOD can accept, process and quickly transfer donations to our partners who can then focus on delivering the much-needed assistance. Through CAFOD, the Catholic community of England and Wales give practical assistance in and around Ukraine. Caritas sister organisations in Ukraine and in neighbouring countries (Caritas Spes and Caritas Ukraine) are working with those affected and displaced and have asked for financial assistance. Please donate here.

 Host a family

The UK Government’s “Homes for Ukraine” scheme opened on 18th March. This allows UK households to commit to sponsoring a Ukrainian household in their home.

Ukrainians who arrive on this scheme will be given leave to remain for up to three years and will have full access to the labour market, the NHS and to some state benefits. It is not clear at the moment how they will be supported to access these benefits or look for work. Volunteer hosts who sign up will have to commit to sponsoring for at least six months and will not be able to charge for rent, but will be able to receive an optional ‘thank you’ tax-free payment of £350 a month from the sponsor’s local authority.

There is a lot to consider when opening your home to a family. The diocese will endeavour to provide help and support. Please contact us below if you would like to chat about hosting a family.

Support a Host 

One of the most important aspects to making the ‘Homes of Ukraine’ scheme truly beneficial and supportive for those coming to the UK, will be the day to day support they are provided when they are here, and not just the providing of accommodation. We need to build support networks in our parishes and pastoral areas to help and support the hosts themselves, and the visiting families. Once the families from Ukraine arrive in our parishes they will need support in many different areas both practical and emotional: such as registering with a G.P and seeking medical assistance, opening a bank account, translation, enrolling children in schools and seeking support or therapy for dealing with the trauma. It will be extremely important, that the families have a community of Ukrainians close by that can meet in parish halls together to maintain and support each other and their cultural identity.  Can you provide help and support in any of these areas? Can your parish provide a place for families to meet and gather together?

Get in Touch to help Ukraine

If you would like to know more about the work of Caritas Northampton and how you can get involved to support those in Ukraine who need our help, please contact us on 01604 434362 or by email to caritas@northamptondiocese.org or by using the form below. 

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