What you need to consider when offering a home

While we know all accommodation will be different and while there is no set expectation, your accommodation needs to be free from serious health and safety hazards. You should make sure your home is safe for your guests and that it is in a suitable condition. You will need to make sure that you have a working fire alarm, a carbon monoxide alarm in any room containing a solid fuel burning appliance, and a safe gas supply. You should also make sure that your guests have access to kitchen and bathroom space.

Space and overcrowding advice
You should also consider how many people you can accommodate so they have sufficient space. The law states that two people should not be in one room unless they are: adult cohabiting partners; a parent and child; two siblings of the same gender if aged over 10; two siblings regardless of gender if aged under 10. Individuals who did not previously know each other should not be given the same room.

We recognise that every property and household will be different and therefore whilst this is the guidance issued by Government we would advise that the property check will confirm the suitability of the home for the match suggested.

Caravans, mobile homes and outbuildings
Caravans and outbuildings will generally not be acceptable accommodations. Unless they have the correct planning permissions, full amenities (including potable water, appropriate drainage and sanitary facilities, electricity and heating) sufficient space, thermal insulation and sufficient fire precautions.

If you have any questions, please contact Homesforukraine@somerset.gov.uk

Local checks that we will complete

  • Property Checks – Before or soon after your guests arrive, you will be contacted by the Property Check Team who will arrange to visit the home you are offering. The Property Team will visit to check that the property you are offering is safe and suitable for your Ukrainian guest(s).
  • Permissions – Please see the Homes for Ukraine Scheme: frequently asked questions for permissions required for mortgages, insurance, landlords, renters and leaseholders.
  • Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks – All members of the sponsor’s household aged 16 and over will require a DBS. DBS check may happen just before and soon after a guest(s) arrives.
  • The Homes for Ukraine Business Support Team will contact you to initiate your DBS application. The type of application that you require will depend on the profile of your Ukrainian guests. The replies you provide on the digital form above, will help us to determine which application that you need. However, if you are still unsure, please notify the Business Support Team when they contact you and they will assist you.
  • For those who required Enhanced DBS checks, we will arrange to see your DBS certificates once all certificates have been returned by your household.

What happens when your guest arrives

  • Once you know that visas have been issued and have an arrival date for your guest(s), please notify HomesforUkraine@somerset.gov.uk. The council may not get notification centrally when your guest(s) arrives.
  • Ukrainian guests will be contacted after their arrival and invited to a welfare check. The sponsor and guest will be asked by the welfare provider if a UK bank account has been opened. If not, the sponsor will be asked to prioritise setting this up with the guest and book a welfare check within a minimum of 3 working days to allow for the account to be opened. Sponsors will be requested to contact the welfare provider via a referral form to let them know when the bank account is live or to notify of any problems. If there is a problem in setting up an account, guests can be provided with a text or email voucher code which should be taken to a Post Office branch, and this can be exchanged for the £200 subsistence cash payment. If a bank account has been set up the subsistence payment will be paid by a bank transfer. This welfare check will take place in a community setting by Somerset Council’s welfare provider.
  • We are in the process of setting up community hubs for both sponsors and guests in partnership with local charitable organisations. When the hubs are operating, we will share information here.

Welcome hubs

See the Welcome Hubs table at full width
LocationOpening timesKey contacts
LocationCHARIS Refugees, 16/17 Hammet Street, Taunton TA1 1RZOpening timesOpen 10am to 3pm Monday to Thursday

2nd, 4th and 5th Tuesday (if there is one) of the month: Welfare checks

1st and 3rd Tuesday of the month 10am to 12.30pm: Employment Hub

Wednesday 10am to 12pm: Wellbeing Café

First Thursday in the month 1pm to 3 pm: Knitting

Monday to Thursday: ESOL
Key contactsHub Manager: Luzma Jimenez

Email: LuzmaJimenez@charisrefugees.org

Phone: 07754 875093
LocationDiversity Voice, Victoria Park Community Centre, Victoria Park Drive, Bridgwater TA6 7ASOpening timesMonday 9.30am to 12pm: Drop in and welfare checks

Wednesday 2pm to 5pm: Online (booking only)

ESOL Classes:

Victoria Park Community Centre – Monday: 9.15 am to 1 pm

Westfield church – Wednesday: 9.30 am to 4.30pm, Friday: 9.00 am to 1 pm

Two Thursdays a month 12.30 am to 3pm: North Petherton Community Centre (please check Diversity Voice website for dates).
Key contactsHub Manager: Ellie Bell

Email: Eleanor.bell@diversityvoice.org.uk

Phone: 07543 219282
LocationFrome Town Council, Frome Town Hall, Christchurch Street West, Frome BA11 1EBOpening timesTuesdays 10am to 3pm

Thursdays 12pm to 2pm: Welfare Checks
Key contactsHub Advice Officers

Iryna Ladyzhenska
Email: iladyzhenska@frometowncouncil.gov.uk Mobile: 07710 056210

Emma Lacey Williams Email: elaceywilliams@frometowncouncil.gov.uk

Nikki Cox, Partnership Lead Email: ncox@frometowncouncil.gov.uk
Phone: 01373 475579
LocationWatchet and Minehead

The Sanctuary 38 Swain Street, Watchet TA23 0AE

Minehead Eye, 1 Mart Road, Minehead TA24 5BT
Opening timesWednesday 3pm to 5pm (Minehead Eye)
Thursday 10am to 1pm (The Sanctuary)
Welfare checks on both days
Key contactsHub Manager: Kate Kennedy
Email: WatchetWelcomeHub@gmx.co.uk
Phone: 07964 059296
LocationWells City Council and Wells Community Network, Portway Annexe, The Portway Building, Portway Avenue, Wells BA5 2QFOpening timesPortway Annexe, The Portway Building, Portway Avenue, Wells BA5 2QF
Monday 10 am to 1pm: Drop-ins and welfare checks
English lessons throughout the week (contact Hub for details)

Shepton Mallet – St Michael’s Catholic Church, 6 Park Road, Shepton Mallet
1st Thursday in the month 10.30am to 12pm: Drop-In session
Welfare checks mostly on Mondays 10am to 1pm
Key contactsHub Manager: Anna Tumanova
Email: refhub@Wells.gov.uk
Phone: 07821 811737

Assistant Hub Manager: Inna Prykhodko
Email: refassist@wells.gov.uk

Wells Community Network contact details: wcnukraine@gmail.com
Helpline: 01749 467079
LocationYeovil Community Church, The Gateway, Addlewell Lane, Yeovil BA20 1QNOpening timesWednesday 10am to 12pm, Friday 10am to 12.30pm
Both sessions include welfare checks
Key contactsHub Manager: Vicki Pritchard
Email: resettlement@yeovil4family.org.uk
Phone: 07735 815 266

Welcome Hubs Programme Manager:

Alex Melbourne
CHARIS Refugees
16/17 Hammet Street
Taunton TA1 1RZ

Email: AlexMelbourne@charisrefugees.org
Mobile: 07719 747485

Somerset Council Resettlement Workers

Mendip: Naomi Frost

Sedgemoor: Julie Gilfoyle

Somerset West and Taunton: Alison Forshaw and Alex Mountain

South Somerset: Sarah Berry

Email: homesforukraine@somerset.gov.uk

Education places for Ukrainian refugee families

We are currently trying to collect as much information as possible about families arriving in Somerset so that we assist sponsors and their Ukrainian family to find early years, school and post 16 places.

  • For early help support – Contact the Somerset Council Contact Centre on 0300 123 2224
  • For preschool children – You will find a form on the Finding childcare page. Sponsors will need to fill out this form and you will then be contacted.
  • For post 16 children – Contact Skill Up Somerset at hello@skillupsomerset.org.uk. SomersetWorks can also provide personal advice on finding a post 16 placement. You can make a referral here

For school places our priority is to have all children requiring a school place to be recorded on our database and from there we can carry out a school search to establish schools with places in the relevant location and year group. This will enable the Council’s admissions team to direct sponsors to schools most likely to have spaces available in their location. Please bear with us as we undertake this work as it may take some time to work through every individual family requirement.

We encourage sponsors to assist their guest family to visit schools before making an application.

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 where 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.

Parents will also have the right of appeal if refused a school place at their preferred school.

Crowdsourcing funds for Ukrainian guests

We know that many people will be considering how they can support the needs of guests who are arriving, which may include financial donations. We have consulted with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and they have advised that, if you are considering crowdsourcing funds, that the funds could be used for supermarket vouchers, material goods, or other vouchers. If funds are paid directly into a Ukrainian guest’s bank account or gifted to them directly, they may need to declare this to the DWP and this could have an impact on their Universal Credit application.

Last reviewed: March 15, 2024 by Adam

Next review due: September 15, 2024

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