NK stands with Ukraine on first anniversary

Date Published: 24 February 2023

This week on Friday 24 February, North Kesteven will stand in solidarity with Ukraine on the first anniversary of the Russian invasion.

Since March last year, almost 180 Ukrainians have made the district their temporary home under the Homes for Ukraine scheme. The Lincolnshire Resettlement Partnership, comprising of Lincolnshire councils and a range of public sector agencies and charitable sector organisations all working together, has been supporting local communities to offer people from Ukraine the warmest possible welcome to the county.

Nationally, more than 100,000 Ukrainians have arrived in the UK under the Homes for Ukraine scheme since the outbreak of the war and with 1,200 guests, Lincolnshire is second highest in the East Midlands and 19th nationally in terms of number of arrivals by sponsor location.

People arriving under the scheme are able to live and work in the UK for up to three years, and access healthcare, public funds, employment and other support. Now, almost a year since the national sponsorship scheme launched, there are still 350 hosts providing a home to their Ukrainian guests across Lincolnshire. Throughout the county over 70 family groups have successfully made the move from their hosting arrangements into private rental accommodation, and a small number of guests have moved on to other parts of the UK.

Hosts on the scheme initially signed up for six months and whilst many hosting relationships will continue to a year and beyond, the Resettlement Partnership is strongly appealing for new hosts to come forward who may be a suitable match for Ukrainians already settled in the county. They are particularly interested in hearing from people who live within the district’s bigger villages and towns, where there is good access to public transport and other amenities.

Anyone can consider hosting as long as they can offer accommodation for at least six months, and those who are successfully matched to Ukrainian guests are offered a £350 per month ‘thank you’ payment, rising to £500 a month for guests who have been in the country for over a year. Ukrainians already established in Lincolnshire and requiring new hosts will already be living and settled within their local communities and may be in work, with children in school, minimising some of the challenges many new hosts on the scheme initially faced when supporting guests with connecting to services in the UK such as applying for biometric residence permits, accessing local and public services and opening bank accounts.

Jonny Hoare and his wife Emma from Rauceby have hosted two families on the scheme and were amongst the first hosts to welcome Ukrainian guests to Lincolnshire. Speaking of their involvement, Jonny said: “Helping people to help themselves is extremely rewarding. If you care about humanity then why wouldn’t you? You will also be left with some amazing memories and possibly even friends for life.”

Cllr Richard Wright, Leader of North Kesteven District Council and Lincolnshire representative on the East Midlands Migration Board said: “As we mark one year since Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, an anniversary none of us ever wanted to see, we continue to show our unwavering support and solidarity to Ukrainians in our local community and beyond. Whilst we offer our sincere thanks to everyone who has opened their home to those fleeing the war in Ukraine, we also continue to appeal for new hosts across North Kesteven.

“If you or someone you know could offer temporary accommodation to Ukrainians, please contact Lincolnshire County Council’s Homes for Ukraine team for more information.”

Many events are planned throughout Lincolnshire and residents across the county will be showing their support for Ukraine in their local communities. To mark the anniversary, on Friday 24 February a moment of quiet reflection will be held in Sleaford Market Place. Gathering at 10.30am, for a short service led by the Vicar of Sleaford, Rev Philip Johnson at 10.40am, there will also be the laying of flowers by the Chairman of North Kesteven District Council and the Mayor of Sleaford. There is an open invitation to anyone who wishes to show solidarity with the people of Ukraine, with local Ukrainian guests and host families especially welcomed.

The government has also announced a national one minute silence at 11am on Friday 24 February to pay tribute to the bravery of Ukrainians and highlight the UK’s solidarity with the country, as they continue their courageous fight. This comes after the historic visit of President Zelenskyy to the UK earlier this month. 

If you think you could commit to hosting, please visit https://lincolnshire.connecttosupport.org/advice-for-ukrainian-arrivals/sign-up-as-a-host/ to find out more and complete Lincolnshire County Council’s hosting expression of interest form. 

Lincolnshire stands with Ukraine