In Somerset, we welcome you in seeking a safe home in our communities. The information below will help you access things that are important to everyday life. You can also get support to access these things from your host and from your local council.

Support after your arrival

You will be given a welcome pack full of information and will be visited by local services to ensure that you are getting the care and support that you need.

The welcome guide includes information on what you need to know in the first few days, getting used to life in the UK including how to find a home, access essential public services, healthcare, find work and childcare and education services. It also includes specific information for those arriving on the Homes for Ukraine scheme.

Welcome packs and translations

You will also be contacted after your arrival and invited to a welfare check. This check will take place in a community setting by Somerset Council’s welfare provider. The subsistence payment of £200 will be paid at this welfare check or soon after.

Welcome Hubs table

See the Welcome Hubs table at full width
LocationOpening timesKey contact
CHARIS Refugees, 16-17 Hammet Street, Taunton, TA1 1RZ10am to 3pm Monday to ThursdayLuzma Jimenez LuzmaJimenez@charisrefugees.org 07754 87875093
Yeovil Community Church, The Gateway, Addlewell Lane, Yeovil BA20 1QNWednesday 10am to 12pm Friday 10am to 12.30pmHub Manager: Sue Pocock resettlement@yeovil4family.org.uk 07888 373126
Wells City Council and Wells Community Network, Portway Annexe, The Portway Building, Portway Avenue, Wells BA5 2QFMonday, Thursday, Friday 10 am to 1pm Drop-In Tuesday, Thursday – English lessons (contact us for details) Friday – English Conversation Café (contact us for details).Contact: Claire Chettoe Hub Manager: Anna Tumanova refhub@Wells.gov.uk wcnukraine@gmail.com 01749 67079 07821 811737
Frome Town Council, Frome Town Hall, Christchurch Street West, Frome BA11 1EBTuesdays 10am to 3pmHub manager: Dmytro Romaniuk DRomaniuk@frometowncouncil.gov.uk Mob: 07467 342819 Nikki Cox, Communities Project Officer ncox@frometowncouncil.gov.uk 01373 475 579
Diversity Voice, Victoria Park Community Centre, Victoria Park Drive, Bridgwater TA6 7AS and Westfield Church, West Street, Bridgwater TA6 7EUMonday 9.30am to 12pm Victoria Park Wednesday 9.30am to 4pm Westfield Church Friday – mobile throughout Sedgemoor – see Diversity Voice website for detailsHub Manager: Oksana Logvynenko Oksana.Logvynenko@diversityvoice.org.uk 07546 304633
The Sanctuary 38 Swain Street, Watchet TA23 0AEMonday 10am to 12pm Thursday 10am to 1pmHub Manager: Kate Kennedy WatchetWelcomeHub@gmx.co.uk 07424 403884
Welcome Hubs Programme Manager, Alex Melbourne CHARIS Refugees, 16 – 17 Hammet Street, Taunton TA1 1RZAlex Melbourne CHARIS Refugees, 16 – 17 Hammet Street, Taunton TA1 1RZ AlexMelbourne@charisrefugees.org 07719 747485

Health and wellbeing

Translated health guides

Registering with a doctor

All Ukrainian arrivals are entitled to full and free access to the National Health Service (NHS). The NHS is highlighting the importance of children and young people registering with a General Practitioner (GP) in particular, so they can access treatment, vaccinations, and mental health support.

To help you register with GPs, the NHS have developed bilingual registration forms and is reminding parents that proof of address or other forms of identification are not required when registering.

You can also find out how to register with a doctor on the NHS website

Mental Health

Getting your children into school or college

Schools and admissions authorities have a set of admission arrangements and an admissions code that must by law be followed.

The in year school admissions process outlined on the Somerset Council website must be followed.

Applications must be signed by family members with parental responsibility and admissions authorities will not be able to accept applications signed by the sponsor. There will be some instances when the local school or schools are full. In these situations, the local authority can provide information on alternative places within statutory walking distance. You can email enquiries to: schooladmissions@somerset.gov.uk

Statutory walking distances are 2 miles up until the age of 8 and 3 miles for aged 8 and over. Where it is not possible to offer a place within statutory walking distance transport will be provided to the nearest school with an available place.

Financial support and banking

The Government has confirmed that all those arriving from Ukraine will be eligible for £200 per person to help with everyday living expenses. We will confirm how this will be paid to you when the welfare check takes place. Once you are settled, you will be able to apply for further help. Information about this will also be provided during the welfare check. You will also be able to look for a job while you are here.

Banking information

Following Home Office guidance, all major banks will apply flexibility around proof of address and other supporting documentation requirements in the account opening process. The following banks have set up dedicated pages to support Ukrainian nationals:

Further information on the types of accounts available can be found at MoneyHelper – Banking. The Home Office’s Welcome! A guide for Ukrainians arriving in the UK also provides information on accounts that be suitable.

Benefit information

Child Benefit

You get Child Benefit if you are responsible for bringing up a child who is:

  • under 16
  • under 20 if they stay in approved education or training

Anyone coming to the UK under the Ukraine Family Scheme or Homes for Ukraine scheme is entitled to claim Child Benefit immediately, rather than having to wait for the usual 3-month qualifying period.

If you wish to claim, you should complete a CH2 Child Benefit claim form and submit this by post to the Child Benefit office. The address is on the form.

You should provide an original birth certificate and the passport or travel document used to enter the UK. Where this documentation is not immediately available, you are advised to include a note in your claim and someone from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will be in touch with you.

Only one person can get Child Benefits for a child. It is paid every 4 weeks and there is no limit to how many children you can claim for.

Website: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/child-benefit-claim-form-ch2 (Opens claim form which can be completed and printed)
Phone: 0300 200 3100

Universal Credit

Universal Credit is a payment to help with your living costs. It is paid monthly.
Website: https://www.gov.uk/apply-universal-credit
Phone: 0800 328 5644 (enquiries or you have no access to the Internet)

Impact on Universal Credit payments for guests leaving the UK
Following a number of enquiries, we have been asked to clarify the rules on Universal Credit payments should guests leave the UK. We have been informed that if families are in receipt of Universal Credit, they will need to notify the DWP (Department for Work and Pensions) if they leave the country, regardless of the length of time they are away. There seems to be a misunderstanding that trips of less than 4 weeks overseas do not need to be declared. If they do not notify the DWP they have left the country, and fail to attend a JCP appointment while abroad, their UC (Universal Credit) may be sanctioned.

We would therefore encourage all guests to speak with their local job centre if they are planning to leave, and in addition, to update the Homes for Ukraine Team if they will be out of the country for more than 4 weeks.

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) can help with extra living costs if you have both:

  • a long-term physical or mental health condition or disability
  • difficulty doing certain everyday tasks or getting around because of your condition

You can get PIP even if you are working, have savings or are getting most other benefits.

Phone: 0800 917 2222

Carers Allowance

Carers Allowance – You could get £67.60 a week if you care for someone at least 35 hours a week and they get certain benefits.

Website: https://www.carersallowance.service.gov.uk/ui-citizen-claim/allowance-benefits

Pension Credit – Pension Credit gives you extra money to help with your living costs if you are over State Pension age and on a low income.

Website: https://apply-for-pension-credit.service.gov.uk/start
Phone: 0800 99 1234.

Disability Living Allowance (DLA)

Disability Living Allowance for children (DLA) for children may help with the extra costs of looking after a child who:

  • is under 16
  • has difficulties walking or needs much more looking after than a child of the same age who does not have a disability

Website: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/disability-living-allowance-for-children-claim-form
Phone: 0800 121 4600

Attendance Allowance

Attendance Allowance helps with extra costs if you have a disability severe enough that you need someone to help look after you and you are over state pension age.

Website: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/attendance-allowance-claim-form (Opens claim form which can be completed and printed)

Send the completed form to: Freepost DWP Attendance Allowance
Phone: 0800 731 0122

Working in the UK

You will be eligible to work in the UK on your visa. It is important that you know your rights and entitlements if you do work.

Workers’ Rights Leaflet – Ukrainian version

Ukrainians Welcome – Your safe stay in the UK is a new website bringing together resources for Ukrainian nationals displaced to the UK which gives the option in English or Ukrainian. It is part of an initiative from anti-slavery groups aimed at keeping Ukrainian refugees safe from trafficking and helping them to safely navigate life in the UK.

Most Ukrainians have been given 36 months right to remain in the UK. This entitles you to claim benefits and work. If you have claimed Universal Credit, you will need to apply for a Biometric Residency Permit (BRP) as proof for your employer that you can work. However, some employers are accepting the stamp on the passport.

National Insurance

A National Insurance (NI) number is used to make sure your National Insurance contributions and tax are recorded against your name only. This is made up of letters and numbers and never changes.

You can look for and start work without a National Insurance number if you can prove you have the right to work in the UK. You can prove you have the right to work in the UK by showing your employer either your Biometric Residence Permit or your visa in your passport.

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. The employer you want to work for will tell you what documents you need to show.

If you do not have a National Insurance number, you can find further information on how to apply for one here. You will be advised of the documents you will need to provide when making your application.

Phone and connectively

Free driving courses

The AA is offering free Drive Confident refresher course from AA Driving School and BSM to Ukrainian refugees.

In Ukraine, people drive on the other side of the road, and it is unlikely that many Ukrainians will be familiar with UK signs, or restrictions like the Congestion Charge and Low Emission Zones.

English to speakers of other languages (ESOL)

If you are an adult who would like to explore accessing classes that will help you to learn or improve your English, you may be able to find local courses near you on our ESOL Directory.

Somerset Skills and Learning also have free education and wellbeing support for refugees in Somerset

CHARIS ESOL – The classes are taught by qualified ESOL teachers, with volunteers to assist, giving students plenty of opportunities to practice speaking and listening, as well as reading and writing. More courses are being set up, in response to the demand. Please check the CHARIS website for further information regarding classes.

Diversity Voice ESOL – Free English Lessons

  • Qualified teachers
  • Free face-to-face lessons
  • Meet new friends
  • Online learner club on social media
  • Fun, friendly classes

Now open all day on Wednesdays in Bridgwater

Phone: 0300 075 0105
Message us on social media in any language
Email: english@diversityvoice.org.uk
Website: diversityvoice.org.uk

Other English Learning Resources

Language support for Ukrainians

If you are a Ukrainian arriving in Somerset, Diversity Voice can help with free interpreting and translation services for your languages which is crucial while getting used to life in the UK, accessing essential public services, healthcare, finding work and childcare and education services.

Phone: 0300 075 0105
Email: translations@diversityvoice.org.uk

Finding your own accommodation

After leaving your sponsor’s home, you will be able to rent a property like anyone else. If you need to, you will be able to claim the housing part of Universal Credit or Housing Benefit. The UK Government has useful information on renting property.

Bernardo's free helpline to support Ukrainian families

The conflict in Ukraine have caused families to forcibly leave their homes, in search of safety, with many arriving in the UK.

In response to this, following discussion with the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain, Barnardo’s has set up the Ukrainian Support Helpline to provide a holistic support service. The helpline is available to anyone fleeing the conflict in Ukraine.

Barnardo’s free helpline – 0800 148 8586 is staffed by English, Ukrainian and Russian speakers, to offer support to children and families arriving in the UK from Ukraine.

The helpline is open Monday – Friday 10am to 8pm and Saturday 10am to 3pm. Callers will be able to get help and advice on a range of topics.

A dedicated email address ukrainiansupport@barnardos.org.uk and webpage have also been set up for those assisting with the Ukraine response.

Last reviewed: May 26, 2023 by Jenny

Next review due: November 26, 2023

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