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Council's Action to Support Ukraine

5 April 2022

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West Devon Borough Council is supporting the Ukraine humanitarian crisis by pledging a £10,000 grant and supporting refugees seeking refuge.

The Council is taking a number of steps to support refugees affected by the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine. They are creating a project team to help support residents who are offering accommodation, pledging a £10,000 grant to the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) and passing a motion of condemnation against the invaders.

At West Devon's Full Council meeting on Tuesday 5 April, councillors spoke of their deep compassion for the plight of the people of Ukraine.

The Council is playing a key role in delivering the Government's 'Homes for Ukraine' scheme and is working closely with 'Team Devon', which includes the following Devon councils: Devon County, South Hams, East Devon, Mid Devon, North Devon, Teignbridge, Torridge and Exeter City, to respond as quickly as possible. 

The motion passed by the Council during the meeting, 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." 

The Homes for Ukraine website has so far received offers of sponsorship for 17 properties from people of West Devon.  Potentially, they will be hosting 54 individuals or families in desperate need. More offers are coming in constantly, so these numbers are expected to rise.

The Council has already started to visit these properties to assess their suitability and has been working alongside Devon County Council who are processing Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks as quickly as they can.

  • Anyone who wishes to become a sponsor must be able to offer a minimum of six months' accommodation
  • Accommodation can range from a spare room to an unoccupied home
  • Sponsors are eligible for a £350 'Thank You' payment per month, per address
  • This will not affect their benefits or single person Council Tax discount
  • Eligible guests who are old enough to work can apply for Universal Credit
  • Guests of pensionable age will be entitled to Pension Credit and Housing Benefit

The Council is also developing a local plan to provide a supportive welcome to Ukrainians once they arrive. This includes having discussions with the voluntary sector about longer-term provision for the Borough's Ukrainian guests.

The Council team's immediate priority is to complete checks on accommodation for those guests who are arriving in West Devon.

Cllr Neil Jory, Leader of West Devon Borough Council, said: "Our officers are dedicated to doing everything they can to support these people in need. They are working hard to ensure the offers of homes are going through the necessary checks to make them a safe and welcome refuge for our visitors.

"It is no surprise to me that our residents have stepped forward to help those in need once again, as they so often do. I thank them sincerely for their generous and thoughtful offers of accommodation and support.

"Our job as a Council is to ensure that everything runs as smoothly and as quickly as possible for both our hosts here in the Borough, but also for the Ukrainian refugees who have suffered terrible losses from all they know. They are far from their homes, communities, friends and colleagues, and most especially, they have been separated from their loved ones. We will do whatever we can to help them at this terrible time." 

West Devon Borough Council has unanimously agreed to grant £10,000 to the Disasters Emergency Committee's Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal. 

15 leading UK aid charities work beneath the DEC umbrella to raise funds to respond with speed and efficiency to overseas disasters. They are one of the most efficient and effective means of providing humanitarian aid. The Council is proud to add their grant contribution to this valuable work.

Cllr Jory added: "By donating directly to the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) we can make sure that our financial support goes directly to charities on the ground. They are best placed to deliver the aid that is needed as quickly as possible to those who urgently need it."

The main message coming from aid workers to the Disasters Emergency Committee is: "Money is needed not 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 at their website.

For anyone wanting to register to offer a home you can register through the Homes for Ukraine Government website:

More local information is available on the new website created by Devon County Council (DCC). This website also hosts all the latest guidance and will continue to be updated as new information becomes available. You can access DCC's website by using this shortened link: bit.ly/3J6B4k1 

For all other offers of assistance and support that is not accommodation or financial based, please email the Borough Council at supportforukriane@swdevon.gov.uk

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