Ukrainian Support Project
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In response to the war in Ukraine the government has made it easier for Ukrainians to come to and remain in the UK. They’ve done this by:
- introducing a scheme to allow Ukrainians to join family members already in the UK
- introducing a scheme to allow British nationals to sponsor Ukrainians to enter the UK and stay with them
- making it easier for Ukrainians with visas to extend or switch them.
This page contains information about the new schemes and the support available for newly arrived Ukrainians. It may be helpful for Ukrainians in Wandsworth and residents who want to host or support Ukrainian refugees.
You can use our contact form if you need help from us or want to refer someone else for help.
Entering the UK
Ukrainians wishing to come to the UK need to have permission to enter the country. They can get this by:
- being sponsored by a family member already in the UK – the Ukraine Family Scheme visa
- being sponsored by a British national through the Homes for Ukraine scheme – the Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme
- applying for a visa to visit, work, study or join family in the UK in the normal way.
There’s comprehensive guidance about UK visa support for Ukrainian nationals on GOV.UK. The Home Office also have a helpline for people who have questions about the Ukraine Family Scheme (0808 164 8810). This helpline is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and is available outside the UK by calling +44 0175 390 7510.
Ukrainians already in the UK
Help with money
Ukrainian nationals in the UK because of the conflict in Ukraine can claim benefits on arrival in the UK.
You can find more information about financial support for Ukrainian refugees on the government’s Understanding Universal Credit website.
Ukrainians who have come because of the conflict don’t need to pass the Habitual Residence Test for benefits if they:
- were living in Ukraine before 1 January 2022
- left Ukraine because of the invasion
- have a visa that gives them the right to stay in the UK.
The benefit system is complex and deciding which benefits to claim will depend on many factors, including your age, the property you live in, whether you have children and whether you have any health conditions. In general:
- If you’re aged between 16 and 65, you should be able to claim Universal Credit. You can apply for Universal Credit online through GOV.UK. Also, our national Help to Claim service can help you make a claim by phone. You can contact Help to Claim by calling 0800 144 8444. Ukrainian and Russian interpreters are available.
- If you’ve reached State Pension age you may be able to claim Pension Credit. You can apply for this by calling 0800 99 1234.
- If you have children under 18 in full time education you should be able to claim Child Benefit. You can apply for this by printing and completing the Child Benefit application form, then taking it to your next appointment at Jobcentre Plus. The application form says that original passport and identity documents need to be sent off with the application, but Jobcentre staff should agree to copy and verify your ID documents so that you don’t have to put them in the post.
If you would like to check whether you can claim these benefits or other benefits for people with disabilities or health problems, you can contact us using the webform below. You can also use an online benefits calculator such as Turn2us or Entitledto.
Help with housing
If you have a visa and arrived in the UK due to the war in Ukraine and have been living in Wandsworth, you’re eligible for housing support from Wandsworth Council.
The type of support you get will depend on your visa, the ages of people in your household and the type of housing you’re currently staying in.
If you’ve been living in the UK under the Homes for Ukraine Scheme for several months you might be starting to consider moving on to private accommodation:
- The government has published updated housing guidelines for those who are reaching 4 to 6 months in the UK. These guidelines are relevant to people who want to stay with their hosts longer than 6 months as well as people who are considering moving on.
- Sanctuary Foundation has published a video seminar called Finding Home, which deals with the issue of housing for Homes for Ukraine guests beyond the first six months.
Wandsworth Mediation Service can provide free, confidential support to resolve misunderstandings and conflict between Ukrainian guests and their sponsors. You can visit the Wandsworth Mediation Service website to find out more about their services and how to contact them.
If you’re homeless and arrived in the UK under any of the Ukraine visa schemes because of the war in Ukraine, you should be able to get homelessness support from your local council. The National Homelessness Advice Service has published guidance for Ukrainians accessing homeless support.
If you’re claiming Universal Credit or Pension Credit you should be able to claim your housing costs back through Universal Credit or Housing Benefit. The amount you will receive might not cover all your rent. You can contact us if you need advice about housing or paying your housing costs.
The Ukraine Advice Project is a free service that connects people fleeing the war in Ukraine with free immigration advice from qualified lawyers. Advice is available in Ukrainian, Russian and Polish. You can also contact the law firm DLA Piper directly at email@example.com to request advice (you should explain your circumstances when you email them).
GOV.UK has guidance about UK visa support for Ukrainian nationals.
Help with learning English
You can register now for English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes starting in September 2022. Some classes are running before then, so it’s worth getting in contact as soon as possible.
- South Thames College
- Lambeth College
- Wandsworth Lifelong Learning (register your interest in ESOL and preparation for employment classes here).
Help with finding a job
Wandsworth Work Match can help with training and looking for work in Wandsworth.
The ‘Find a job’ service is provided by the government to help people search and apply for jobs anywhere in England.
GOV.UK has guidance about moving from benefits to work, with information about looking for work, starting a business and help for parents.
Help with emotional support and wellbeing
Fleeing your homeland due to conflict can be traumatic and upsetting. There are a number of organisations nationally and locally that can provide emotional support:
- The British Red Cross runs a helpline for people who are lonely, worried and finding it hard to get the help they need in the UK. You can contact them on 0808 196 3651 between 10am and 6pm (8pm on Wednesdays) and request a Ukrainian or Russian speaker.
- Barnado’s runs a Ukraine helpline (0800 148 8586) that offers holistic support for people fleeing the conflict in Ukraine. They can connect you to a qualified psychotherapist who you can talk to by phone or online. They can also offer practical support: including access to digital devices (to make sure you stay connected to loved ones), toys for children, vital baby items and more (subject to demand). Bernado’s helpline is open Monday to Friday 10am to 8pm and Saturday 10am to 3pm, and they can provide a Ukrainian or Russian interpreter. You can also email them at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Talk Wandsworth provides confidential therapy about dealing with stress, conflict and low mood. You can refer yourself using their referral form or ask your GP for a referral.
- If you’re distressed and feel you might harm yourself you should call emergency services on 999. If you just need to talk to someone, the Samaritans helpline (116 123) is open 24 hours a day. You can also ask for help by emailing
The Red Cross has published guides on wellbeing, coping with stress and coping with trauma:
- A wellbeing guide to reducing stress and building inner resilience (Ukrainian)
- Coping with trauma – adults (Ukrainian)
- Coping with trauma – children (Ukrainian)
- Coping with a personal crisis (Ukrainian)
- A wellbeing guide to reducing stress and building inner resilience (Russian)
- Coping with trauma – adults (Russian)
- Coping with trauma – children (Russian)
- Coping with a personal crisis (Russian)
London Plus are collating and publishing information about other support for Ukrainian nationals coming to the UK.
If you want to help
The best way to support Ukraine is to donate to the relief effort. The Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal is taking donations on behalf of 15 major charities who are working in Ukraine and neighbouring countries. Every donation makes a difference to people displaced by the conflict in Ukraine.
If you can make the commitment, applying to be a host through the Homes for Ukraine scheme will allow someone without family in the UK to enter and stay here. You can find more information in the Homes for Ukraine FAQ on GOV.UK.
If you want to help by volunteering you can contact Wandsworth Care Alliance, who can connect you to a local organisation supporting the relief effort or Ukrainian refugees settling in the borough.
You can use this webform to contact us if:
- you’re a Ukrainian in Wandsworth and need advice
- you’re supporting a Ukrainian refugee and want to connect them to support.