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Council's Action to Support Ukraine

South Hams District Council has this week confirmed its role in supporting the Ukraine humanitarian crisis.

Ukraine Flag at FH

From setting up a project team who can support those people offering accommodation and passing a motion of condemnation against the aggressors, to pledging a £10,000 grant to the Disasters Emergency Committee, the Council is taking a number of steps to support those affected by the crisis.

At a meeting of South Hams Full Council yesterday (Thursday 31 March), all parties expressed their deep sadness and empathy with the people of Ukraine. 

The Council then confirmed that it is playing a key role in delivering the Government's Homes for Ukraine scheme and as a result, is working closely with Team Devon (which includes Devon County Council, East Devon, Mid Devon, North Devon, South Hams, Teignbridge and Torridge District Councils, West Devon Borough Council and Exeter City Council) to respond as quickly as possible.

The Council passed a motion which stated: "We stand ready to provide support to those affected by this war and will open our arms to people displaced and affected. We will also work with and support the efforts of our local communities to provide help and comfort to those in need."

So far in the South Hams, the Council is supporting sponsors who have come forward, offering 22 properties. They will be potentially hosting 50 individuals or guests, including children.

The Council is already conducting checks on the suitability of accommodation and have been working with Devon County Council on the swift processing of DBS checks.

Anyone wanting to become a sponsor must be able to offer a minimum of six months' accommodation. This can be anything from a spare room to an unoccupied home.

They will be eligible for a £350 'Thank You' payment per month per address. This won't impact their benefits or single person Council Tax discount. 

For those people who do arrive here, if they are old enough to work they can apply for Universal Credit. Guests of pensionable age will be entitled to Pension Credit and Housing Benefit.

South Hams District Council is also developing a local support plan to provide a supportive welcome to Ukrainians once they arrive. This includes having conversations with the voluntary sector about longer term support that can be provided to Ukrainian guests.

Anyone who can offer support that is not accommodation or finance can email the council at supportforukraine@swdevon.gov.uk

The Council said that the team's immediate priority is to complete checks on the accommodation for those people who they have been told are arriving in the South Hams.

Cllr Judy Pearce Leader of South Hams District Council added: "This week our officers have worked very hard to put together the necessary arrangements to deal with all the tasks we are required to carry out, and to make the homes for refugees scheme a reality.

"Our role is to ensure that everything runs as smoothly and as quickly as possible for both the hosts and Ukrainian family groups." 

South Hams District Council has also unanimously agreed to grant £10,000 to the Disasters Emergency Committee's Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal.

DEC brings together 15 leading UK aid charities; they raise funds to quickly and effectively respond to overseas disasters. The Council believes that this is one of the most efficient and effective means of providing humanitarian aid. 

Cllr Judy Pearce Leader of South Hams District Council added: "We believe that one of the other ways we can help those people displaced by the crisis is to provide financial support through the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC); that way we can ensure that our support goes directly to those charities best placed to deliver aid."

DEC have said the message from aid workers is that "money is needed, rather than specific donated items, which are often not necessarily what people require and are difficult to transport.

Members of the public wanting to pledge financial support can also give money to the DEC

For anyone wanting to offer a home or give financial aid, a new website created by Devon County Council now hosts the latest guidance and will be updated as new information becomes available.  

Published on 1 April 2022

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