Last updated: 1 December 2022
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This pack provides useful information on the things you need to know as a sponsor or guest. It tells you more about living in Dorset and the support that is available to you.

We are extremely grateful to sponsors for their generosity and kindness in offering accommodation to Ukrainian families. 

As a Dorset Council resident, you and your guest will come into contact with a range of services available through the council and our Dorset Together network of public, voluntary, and charitable organisations.

Before your guests arrive

Your accommodation 

The government has outlined the type of accommodation that should be provided. Please visit the gov.uk website for more information.

Council checks 

Dorset Council will undertake checks on your accommodation and living arrangements, preferably before your guests arrive. 

We will also be undertaking Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks in line with government guidance. This will apply to all members of the household who are 16 or over.   

You will not be charged for these checks.  

Guests with children 

If your guest has 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 (those not related to the guest).  

Guests that need additional support 

If an adult guest requires additional support due to age, disability, or illness, which an unrelated sponsor or adult aged 16 or above within your household will provide, then we may ask for an Enhanced DBS check (including a check of the adults’ barred list). 

The first few days

Let us know when your guest(s) arrive 

To ensure that your guest receives the support they need, please let us know when they have arrived. Please also let us know if there are any urgent needs. 

You can call customer services on 01305 221000 or by email to ukraineresponse@dorsetcouncil.gov.uk

Discretionary payment for guests 

Your guest is eligible for a payment to support them with accessing any essential supplies they may need whilst applying for Universal Credit and/or employment.  

The sooner we know that they have arrived, the sooner we can put that provision in place for them.

Support payments for hosts

‘Thank you’ payment 

As a sponsor under the government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme you can claim a monthly £350 ‘thank you’ payment for up to 12 months whilst your guest stay with you. 

To receive this payment, we will need your bank details. We will send you a form to get this information once we have completed our initial checks.

If you have not yet received a form and would like to claim the funding, please let us know by emailing ukraineresponse@dorsetcouncil.gov.uk

Payments will be made in monthly arrears once your guest arrives. If you receive welfare payments, this ‘thank you’ payment will not affect your benefit entitlement. It will also not affect any council tax discounts for single occupancy.  

If, for any reason, your guest moves out of your home you must inform the council as soon as possible so this payment can be stopped.  

An additional £250 per month will be provided to current hosts as of 1 October from month 7, up to month 12 of their hosting arrangements. This is in addition to the existing monthly £350 ‘thank you’ payment.

An additional Winter Payment up to £1,000 can be applied for per host household with 2 payments made on a case-by-case basis in November 2022 and February 2023. This is to assist with the impact and costs associated with hosting our Ukrainian Guests as well as the impact of the cost-of-living crisis. Please apply for this by emailing Ukraineresponse@dorsetcouncil.gov.uk with 'cost of living payment' in the subject.

The 'thank you' and winter payments are exempt from any tax implications.

The rights of your guests

Immigration 

Depending on what visa or immigration status your guest has been given to enter the UK, they may need to access immigration advice from a qualified immigration adviser about extending this or making a different kind of application in the future.  

Legal aid can help meet the costs of legal advice and representation but is only available for certain types of applications and for people who cannot afford to pay for a solicitor privately.  

Citizen Advice Dorset can provide further support by telephoning 0800 144 8848. 

Access to benefits  

The UK has a welfare system which is designed to help those who face financial hardship, or who have specific needs. Your local Job Centre Plus will be able to help you find out which benefits your guest may be able to access. This may include:  

  • Universal Credit – a payment for those of working age, to help with living costs if they are on a low income  
  • Pension Credit - extra money to help with their living costs if they are over the age of 66 and on a low income. Applications for Pensions is online or via telephone  
  • Disability benefits – extra money to help with additional costs if they have a long term physical or mental health condition or disability  
  • Carer’s Allowance – extra money if they care for someone at least 35 hours a week.  
  • Child Benefit – extra money to help with the cost of raising a child 

Universal credit 

Your guests can apply for universal credit if they are currently out of work. They will be able to receive a monthly payment to help with living costs. 

Your guest should call 0800 328 5644. If they cannot hear or speak on the phone, they can call Relay UK – 18001, then telephone 0800 328 5644 or textphone: 0800 328 1344. This service is available Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm. 

They can also apply online. If your guest requires an interpreter to help complete the online form this can be arranged when they make the call.

Once the claim is made, a coach will help and support them with referring for English lessons, disability support, training courses and employment opportunities.  

Citizens Advice Dorset can also help with initial benefit claims and ongoing benefit support. They can be contacted by telephone 0800 144 8848.  

Child benefit 

If your guest has children, they may be entitled to Child Benefit for those under 16 years, and sometimes for older children (aged 16-20) if they are in approved full-time education. More details can be found on the GOV.UK website.

Opening a bank account 

Most major banks have information on their websites about how to open a bank account if guests are entering the UK from Ukraine.  

Some banks may require your guest to produce a form of identification such as their passport, Biometric Residence Permit (BRP), a driver’s licence or a recognised identity card.  

Your guests should ask about any charges when they open an account. 

Once opened, your guest will usually be issued with a debit card.  

They can also arrange for bills to be paid directly from their account using ‘direct debit’. 

Further information on how to open a bank account is available on the Citizens Advice website.

Healthcare

All Ukrainians arriving in England can access National Health Service (NHS) healthcare. This includes help from a doctor, also known as a General Practitioner (GP) , for minor injuries and illnesses, nurse consultations, hospital services, and urgent care centres.  

See detailed information on how the NHS works: 

See all documents available.

Registering with your GP/doctor 

To receive medical treatment, your guests must register with a GP as soon as possible, even if they are not ill. To find a GP and register visit the NHS website.

They will be asked to fill out a registration form and bring identification and proof of their address if you can. Please note immigration status is not necessary to register.  

They may be eligible to apply for the NHS low-income scheme for help with health costs such as prescriptions, dental care, and eyesight tests. They can ask your GP practice about this. 

Registering with a dentist 

They should register with a dentist as an NHS patient and let them know if they are receiving benefits, in which case their check-ups and necessary treatment will be free. If they need to get dental treatment before receiving Universal Credit they will be charged.  

They can get additional money from Universal Credit if they have a health condition that means they are unable to work or prepare for work. 

Contact details 

  • for urgent medical help use the NHS 111 online service or call 111 if you're unable to get help online
  • for life-threatening emergencies call 999 for an ambulance

A list of local hospitals and other healthcare services can be found on the Dorset Healthcare website.

Public Health Dorset also provides a range of services to improve the physical and mental health or residents.

Mental health support 

Your guest may have been through a traumatic time and been exposed to a huge amount of stress.  

There are mental health services available throughout Dorset that can help if they are struggling. If they are feeling anxious, stressed, or depressed, or are having thoughts and feelings that are affecting your daily life, they should speak to their doctor. 

If they do not want to talk to a GP, your guest can also talk to support advisors at: 

  • Mind, a mental health charity - telephone 0300 123 3393 or visit the Mind website
  • Samaritans, which provides emotional support - telephone 116 113 or email jo@samaritans.org 

The NHS website also offers lots of advice and information.

Maternity and pregnancy 

If your guest is pregnant or find out they are pregnant, they should contact their local GP as soon as possible.  

It’s important to see a GP or midwife early on to get the pregnancy (antenatal) care and information they need to have a health pregnancy and birth.  

Further information can be found on the NHS website.

Social care 

Dorset Council is responsible for social care for adults, children, and families in the county. Services include safeguarding, homecare and disability or family support.  

Vaccinations  

Your guest can access free vaccinations for themselves and family members. Further details can be found on the NHS website.

Covid-19 

Most people, except for young children, are eligible for a free Covid-19 vaccination through the NHS if they are registered with a GP.  

Further information can be found on the NHS website.

Blind 

The Dorset Blind Association can help if your guest is blind - telephone 01202 712869 or visit the Dorset Blind Association website.

Connecting with other Ukrainians and community groups

Community support 

Help and Kindness, a voluntary organisation based in Dorchester, has a list of local groups and networks providing a range of help and support to those arriving and for sponsors.  

For more information visit the Help and Kindness website or telephone 01305 595958.  

Education and childcare

Childcare 

Your guest can get free hours childcare when their child is aged 2 to 4. They may wish to apply for:  

  • universal 15-hour entitlement which is available for all 3 and 4-year-olds living in England, regardless of immigration status
  • 15-hour entitlement for disadvantaged 2-year-old. This is available to 2-year-olds considered to be disadvantaged. Eligible households include parents who are in receipt of government support such as Universal Credit or Tax Credits and earn below a certain income threshold. In addition, children who are looked after or have an Education and Health Care Plan (EHCP) are eligible. For more information visit the GOV.UK website.

Family and children’s services 

We have several children’s centres and hubs across Dorset:

  • Chesil
  • Dorchester
  • East Dorset
  • North Dorset
  • Purbeck
  • West Dorset

They provide a range of free activities and support events for children and families.

School  

Full-time education is available for all children aged 5 to 18 years: 

  • primary school (infant school/middle school) from 4 years to 11 years   
  • secondary school from 11 years to 16 years (end of compulsory schooling) 
  • further education from 16 to 18 years 

Find a school place

Alternatively, your guest can contact customer services by email at customerservices@dorsetcouncil.gov.uk or by telephone on 01305 221000. 

They should also contact the council on the details above to discuss grants and financial support including free school transport, school uniform grants and free school meals.  

Sixth Form colleges

Young people aged 16-18 can also apply to sixth form colleges. Sixth Forms provide education for young people aged 16-19, colleges provide education for anyone aged 16 and over. Weymouth College is just one example.

Children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) 

All schools and colleges in England should identify and meet the needs of children with SEND.  

Where a child has more complex special educational needs that may require support beyond what is normally provided in mainstream schools, there are special schools in every local area that can make suitable provision. Local authorities have a duty to identify children and young people in their area who have or may have SEN (Special Educational Needs) or have or may have a disability.  

If your guest needs support for their child further information is available on our website.

Further education including university 

Further education (FE) includes any study after secondary education that’s not part of higher education (that is, not taken as part of an undergraduate or graduate degree).  

Eligibility for age 16-19 funding requires an individual to have the right to reside in the UK in line with the immigration rules determined by the Home Office. A school or further education institution will be able to assist in checking that they meet the residency requirements.  

See further information about courses and funding.

Our local universities include Arts University Bournemouth and Bournemouth University.

Apprenticeships  

An apprenticeship is a real job where you learn, gain experience, and get paid. You’re an employee with a contract of employment and holiday leave. By the end of an apprenticeship, you’ll have the right skills and knowledge needed for your chosen career.    

See further information on apprenticeships.

Adult courses, including English lessons  

Skills and Learning have several adult learning centres across Dorset providing a range of courses including ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) courses. (ESOL courses are for learners whose first language is not English). Financial support to study is also available.  

You can contact Skills and Learning directly by telephone 01202 123444 or by visiting the Skills and Learning website.

Introducing your local area

Sponsors are best placed to advise guests on what facilities and attractions they can find in their local area. However, here is some information that can help.

About Dorset 

Dorset is part of the southwest region of England, and borders the four counties of Somerset, Devon, Wiltshire, and Hampshire. It has a mix of coastal locations and rural countryside with many large towns including Weymouth, Dorchester, Wimborne, Bridport, Blandford, Shaftesbury, Sherborne, and Wareham.  

London is easily accessible via train with two main lines running through the county. There are two services running to London from Sherborne, Gillingham, Dorchester, and Weymouth with additional stops throughout the county.  

Post office  

Details of post offices, where your guest can send letters and exchange money, can be found on the Post Office website.   

Libraries 

Our council-run libraries offer book lending and reference facilities, access to computers, e-books and much more. They are also a great place to meet others from the local community.  

Find your nearest library

Religion  

The Inter Faith Network for the UK may help them to find a place of worship such as a local church, mosque, or Buddhist temple.

The Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of the Holy Family of London can help find a local church across the UK.

Food  

There are lots of Polish shops in the area. Halal food is available in some towns.  

There are also several local charities that can provide basic essential items or food if there are delays with accessing financial support.  

See details of local foodbanks.

Other support services 

There are several charities offering financial support through local voluntary organisation, for example Help and Kindness or Turn2Us.

Ukrainian charities in the UK such as the Association of Ukrainians of Great Britain may also be able to help.

Travel

Walking  

Remind your guest that vehicles travel on the left-hand side of the road in the UK. To cross busy roads safely look out for zebra crossings where cars should stop for you.  

Driving  

Your guest must have motor insurance to drive a vehicle on UK roads. Third party insurance is the legal minimum. This means they’re covered if they have an accident-causing damage or injury to any other person, vehicle, animal, or property. It does not cover any other costs like repair to your own vehicle.  

If they have a full driving licence issued in Ukraine, they may use this to drive small vehicles (such as motorcycles, cars, and vehicles up to 3500kgs or with up to 8 passenger seats) for up to a year in the UK. The licence must cover the vehicle being driven and must still be valid. To continue to drive after this, they must obtain a provisional driving licence and pass a GB driving test before the 12 months ends.

Public transport   

The transport links in Dorset offer several ways to get around by public transport. 

Bus services

Local bus services provide services across the county with several routes covering towns and villages. To find a bus timetable and plan your journey you can visit Traveline southwest.

Bus operators More Bus and Damory are both offering a month’s free family pass to those arriving. Guests and their children will receive a one 30-day family pass for up to 2 adults and 3 children.  

To take advantage of the offer, guests need to contact us at ukraineresponse@dorsetcouncil.gov.uk or by telephone to customer services on tel: 01305 221000. We will l check guest details, identify which service they will be using (More Bus or Damory) and confirm details on how to set up. Guests will be asked to download an app before the tickets are provided.  

See more information about coach routes across the country.

Train service

Rail trains in Dorset serve several routes across the county and nationally. For local train services visit South Western Railway.

Airports

The nearest airports are Exeter, Bournemouth, and Southampton.  

Emergency services

Police  

The police exist to protect the public, their rights, and the law. If guests are the victims of a crime, see a crime happening, or need general assistance, the police are there to help.

  • 999 is the number to call in an emergency, for example if you are the victim of an assault or see a crime taking place. When they call, they must say they need ‘police’, as this is also the number to call an ambulance or if there is a fire  
  • 101 is the number to call for less urgent situations, for example if your property has been damaged, to give police information about a crime, or any general enquiries

If you are not satisfied with the service you have received from the police, you can complain directly to the police unit, office in question or the Independent Office for Police Conduct.

Racism is unacceptable in the UK. You should not be treated any differently because of your race when applying for a job, looking for somewhere to live, using the National Health Service (NHS) or just buying something in a shop. If you or someone you know is the victim of racism do tell the police about it.  

Fire  

If you need to report a fire you should call 999. 

Working

Your guest is entitled to work in the UK. When they work, they must pay tax and national insurance.  

National insurance number  

Guests will need a national insurance (NI) number to make sure their national insurance contributions and tax are recorded against their name only. It’s made up of letters and numbers and never changes.  

Guests can look for and start work without a national insurance number if they can prove they can work in the UK. They can prove they have the right to work in the UK by showing a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP), this will have a Right to Work status printed on the back.  

Employers are required to conduct mandatory Right to Work checks on all prospective employees. Having a national insurance number is not part of these checks, and the possession of a national insurance number does not prove that an individual has a right to work. 

When making an application guests will need to provide a copy of their passport and proof that they have the right to work. Agency workers have specific rights from the first day of employment.  

Paying tax  

Through Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) the UK Government collects tax on labour and assets. Central government revenues come primarily from income tax, national insurance contributions, value added tax, corporation tax and fuel duty.  

Further information can be found on GOV.UK

Finding a job  

With a UK visa guests have the right to work as soon as they arrive.  

Find a Job is a free service and allows jobseekers to search for work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can search for jobs without an account but to apply for a job you need to create an account or sign in. This also allows guests to track their activities, create tailored job alerts and store multiple CVs. 

Translation services are available to help new arrivals with phone applications. UK government Work Coaches and the Department for Work and Pensions staff can also support people making claims online. 

For additional support or advice to find work in Dorset visit: 

Housing

Buying a home  

The Government has published a detailed guide for buying a home.

Renting your home  

Guests will be able to use their Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) to prove their immigration status in the UK, including their right to rent. To prove their status digitally to a landlord or letting agent they can use the online service.

Rented housing can be found through local lettings agents and on property listing websites. The types of privately rented housing available are different across the country. Guests can find out about their responsibilities and rights as a tenant in the Government’s ‘How to Rent Guide’.

Council Tax  

Property buyers or renters are liable for paying council tax. This is a set amount for the financial year which runs from April to March and can be paid monthly.  

Council tax is a tax which goes to your local authority for local services such as care, social services, police, and local facilities.  

Homelessness assistance and council housing  

In England, your local authority must help if a guest becomes legally homeless or at risk of homelessness soon.  

If guests become at risk of homelessness, they should contact customer services at Dorset Council on 01305 221000.  

Rubbish and recycling collections

If guests are staying in separate accommodation from you please make them aware of rubbish and recycling collections.  

These are collected by Dorset Council on a fortnightly basis and homes have been provided with a bin for standard, household rubbish and a separate bin for recyclable items (paper, cardboard, and hard plastics).  

For further information about our waste facilities, including when collections take place visit My Local.

Sport and leisure

Leisure Centres

Dorset Council offers a range of leisure and sport facilities. Find your nearest leisure centre and local activity group.

Walking routes and country parks

With beautiful countryside on your doorstep, we also have several walking routes, woodlands, heaths, beaches, and country parks you can visit.

The Dorset Max Card

Families from Ukraine can sign up for a scheme to access discounts for attractions and leisure facilities across Dorset. 

Sign up

What to do if things go wrong

Hosting arrangement  

While we hope that every hosting arrangement works well there may be situations where it becomes clear that it isn’t working. If that happens, please contact Dorset Council as soon as possible so that we can work with you and the guests to try and resolve the situation. 

You can contact customer services by telephone on 01305 221000 or by email to ukraineresponse@dorsetcouncil.gov.uk  

Child abuse or wellbeing concerns  

If you’re worried about the wellbeing of a child, want to report abuse or aren’t sure what to do please telephone customer services on 01305 221000. 

In an emergency, or if you believe a child is at immediate danger or risk of harm, call the police on 999.  

Protecting and caring for children  

The UK takes the welfare of all children very seriously. If you are worried about your child or another child, you can contact: 

  • National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) on 0808 800 5000. You can contact them outside of these hours by email to help@nspcc.org.uk. It’s free and you don’t have to say who you are
  • Childline on 0800 1111 
  • if you think that a child is at immediate risk of harm, please call the Police on 999 or 112

Domestic abuse  

Domestic abuse is a serious crime in the UK. Anyone who is violent or abusive towards their partner, spouse, or another family member, whether they are a man or a woman, married or living together, or separated can be prosecuted.  

Domestic abuse can include a wide range of behaviours and is not limited to physical violence, it can include:

  • emotional
  • psychological
  • controlling, or coercive behaviour
  • sexual and/or economic abuse

For further information and help:  

Reporting war crimes from Ukraine  

The Metropolitan Police is supporting the International Criminal Court (ICC) investigation regarding war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity in Ukraine.  

If your guests have personally experienced or have witnessed any crimes, further information can be reported to the War Crimes Team in the Metropolitan Police.

Ending your hosting arrangement

If guests choose to move on from their hosted accommodation or sponsors are no longer able to host them, see our housing advice homelessness pages for more information. If your hosting arrangement ends, let the Ukraine Response team at Dorset Council know on: 01305 221000 or at ukraineresponse@dorsetcouncil.gov.uk