Last updated: 1 December 2022
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Find out what options and support you can get if your hosting arrangement is ending, or you want to move into your own accommodation.


Food and essential items

There are a number of local charities that can provide you with basic essential items or food if there are delays with accessing financial support.

Search for your local foodbank

You can also search for other charities offering financial support through local voluntary organisations Help And Kindness and Turn2Us.

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

Money help and benefits

Paying for things you need

Once you arrive, we will send you a voucher which you can cash at a Post Office to help cover every day needs. The voucher is sent by email or SMS.

You can claim benefits immediately, alongside Universal Credit and other benefits where eligible.

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

Universal Credit

The UK government provides basic welfare benefit payments for people who are unable to work, who are looking for work but have not yet found a job, or who are on a low income. This is called Universal Credit.

Universal Credit can be used to pay for your living expenses such as food, clothing, transport, household bills and anything you want to buy.

It’s paid monthly into one bank account; yours, or your partner’s. To receive Universal Credit or other benefits yourself, you need to open a bank account. A bank will need to see documents that prove your identity, immigration status and address.

If you do not have a bank account, you can get your first payment as a voucher. This is called ‘government payment exemption service’. You will need to tell the job centre why you have not been able to open a bank account. This can take a long time, so it is better to try and open a bank account first.

Apply for Universal Credit

If you have questions about how Universal Credit works you can call the Universal Credit Full Service by telephone on 0800 328 5644.

Child Benefit

If you have children, you may be entitled to Child Benefit for those under 16 years, and sometimes for older children (aged 16 to 20) if they are in approved full time education.

See GOV.UK for more details on how to claim Child Benefit.

Work and finding a job

For support or advice to find work in Dorset visit Dorset Council jobs and careers.

Jobcentre Plus is a government funded employment agency which helps people of working age find employment in the UK.

Find your nearest job centre



Registering with your GP/doctor

A General Practioner (GP) is the first doctor you will see when assessing healthcare. To receive medical treatment, you and your children must register with a GP as soon as possible, even if you are not ill. 

Find a GP and register

You will be asked to fill out a registration form and bring identification and proof of your address if you can. Immigration status is not needed to register.

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

Registering with a dentist

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

You can get additional money from Universal Credit if you have a health condition which means you are unable to work or prepare for work.

Healthcare contacts

For life-threatening emergencies call 999 for an ambulance.

For urgent medical help use the NHS 111 online service or call 111 if you're unable to get help online.

See a list of local hospitals and other healthcare services on the Dorset Healthcare website.

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

Other health and mental health services

Your GP will be able to give guidance and treatment on emotional and mental health as well as physical health.

If you need additional support with anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and depression, you can contact:

If you are experiencing domestic violence and/or abuse in your relationship (physical, sexual, psychological, verbal, emotional and financial abuse), you can contact the National Centre for Domestic Violence on telephone: 0800 970 2070 or visit their website.

If you are in immediate danger, you should call 999.

Education and childcare

Early years education and childcare are available for babies and children aged 0 to 4 years. 

Search for childcare

Full time education is available for all children aged 5 to 19 years:

  • infant – 5 to 7 or 8 years old
  • junior – up to 11 or 12 years old
  • secondary – 11 or 12 up to 16 years old (end of compulsory schooling)
  • further education from 16 to 19 years old

The school structure may differ depending on where you live in the county.

Find a school place

Alternatively, you can contact us by email: or through Dorset Direct, the council’s customer services, on telephone: 01305 221000.

You can also contact us to discuss grants and financial support, including free school transport, school uniform grants and free school meals.

Adult education

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

Visit the Skills and Learning website or telephone 01202 123444.

Community support

Help And Kindness, a voluntary organisation based in Dorchester, has gathered a list of local groups and networks providing a range of help and support to those arriving. This includes translation services, activities and events, practical support with clothes, toys and other items, social and psychological services, food, and hospitality.

Visit the Help and Kindness website for more information or telephone: 01305 595958.

Citizens Advice Dorset can also provide advice and information on welfare benefits, employment, housing issues, relationship problems, and legal matters.

Visit the Citizens Advice Dorset website or telephone: 0800 144 8848.

Care and support for adults, children and families

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.

For advice, call Dorset Direct, the council’s customer services, on telephone: 01305 221000, email:

Find out more about:

Families with special educational needs or disabilities

Our Dorset Family Information Service is a free, impartial information service for parents and carers of children and young people aged up to 19 years, or up to 25 years for those with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND). 

Children's centres

We also have a number of children’s centres and hubs across Dorset providing a range of free activities and support events for children and families. You can call the service on telephone: 01305 221066.


Dorset Council can provide help if you have an issue with your provided accommodation, for example, overcrowding, poor state of repair or if you are at risk of violence. We will carry out an assessment to find out what kind of support you need and what we can offer.

For advice call: Dorset Direct, the council’s customer services, on telephone: 01305 221000, email:

Bin collections

Rubbish and recycling are collected by Dorset Council on a fortnightly basis and you will have access to a bin for standard, household rubbish and a separate bin for recyclable items (paper, cardboard and hard plastics).

Check your bin collection day

Travel and transport

Travel Dorset

Travel Dorset has lots of information about getting around the county including bus timetables, applying for a bus pass, cycle and walking routes and other public transport.


Visit National Rail for routes across the country.

Rail trains in Dorset serve a number of routes across the county and nationally.

Visit South Western Railway for local train services


The nearest airports are Exeter, Bournemouth, and Southampton.

Driving licences

You can exchange a foreign driving licence if you are here for more than 12 months.

You can continue to drive in the UK without exchanging your licence for 12 months after becoming resident.

After 12 months you must exchange your licence to keep driving. You can exchange it up to 5 years after becoming resident, if it has not expired.

If your licence allows you to drive manual vehicles, you can usually exchange it for a UK licence that allows you to drive manual vehicles.

Bringing your car to the UK

Temporary admission procedure

Ukrainian refugees entering the UK do not need to declare their personal vehicles to customs or pay any customs duty or import VAT on their vehicle as long as:

  • the vehicle is taxed and registered in its home country
  • they only use their vehicle in the UK on a temporary basis (usually up to 6 months)

This is facilitated under the Temporary Admission (TA) procedure.

The TA procedure allows certain goods to be imported into the UK temporarily, with total relief from customs duty and import VAT.

Apply for an extension on your imported vehicle

Under TA, the imported goods/items must be re-exported within a set time period.

Where this is usually 6 months for personal vehicles, Ukrainian refugees staying in the UK for longer can apply for an extension by contacting HMRC’s National Temporary Admission Section (NTAS) at

Each extension application is assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Transfer of residence

A Transfer of Residence (ToR) provides relief on a wide range of property and personal effects including vehicles, which might be a better option for some people.

Foreign registered vehicles brought into the UK temporarily by non-UK residents are exempt from UK registration and licensing requirements for up to 6 months in any 12-month period.

Ukrainian nationals wishing to use their vehicle while they are staying in the UK will need to register and tax their vehicle if they become residents or are in the UK for longer than 6 months. Find out more about importing vehicles into the UK and temporary imports.


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

Sports and leisure

Dorset Council offers a range of leisure and sports facilities and local activity groups.

Find your nearest leisure centre

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

Find out more about our countryside, coast and parks.


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

You can contact Citizen Advice Dorset for further support by telephone: 0800 144 8848.

Further immigration advice is available in the immigration guides on GOV.UK.