People across Suffolk prepare to open homes to Ukrainian refugees
- Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown
People across Suffolk are set to host Ukrainian refugees as the government announced its Homes for Ukraine scheme.
On Monday afternoon, the government launched the scheme to allow people and organisations to give Ukrainians fleeing the war a place to stay.
By evening, 20,000 people across the country had signed up.
Communities Secretary Michael Gove told MPs Ukrainians will be able to live and work in the UK for up to three years under the scheme, with “full and unrestricted access to benefits, healthcare, employment and other support”.
Those offering a place to stay will receive a tax-free monthly payment of £350 which will not affect benefit entitlements or council tax status.
Funding is expected to be provided for local authorities to pay towards extra children’s services, schools and social services.
UK sponsors can be “of any nationality with any immigration status, provided they have at least six months leave to remain within the UK” and will need to provide accommodation for a “minimum of six months”.
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Among those planning to open their doors is Colin Tapscott.
Mr Tapscott, who lives in Debenham, said: "We've talked as a family and we are offering a room in our home for a refugee.
"Looking at the news and seeing people in such circumstances, I though 'I can't just ignore this, what can I offer?'
"I could send toothpaste or I could send medicine, but I just felt I do have space in my home."
One news article about a woman who was travelling to Holland after her husband said it would be "far enough away from planes and bombing" to be safe affected him in particular, Mr Tapscott said.
"That just struck a note with me," he said. "It's a case where she had nobody there, but she just wanted safety and security."
Mr Tapscott, who runs his own business, also hopes to help refugees find work with local firms.
West Suffolk MP Matt Hancock "warmly welcomed" the government scheme and said he planned to host Ukrainian refugees in his own home.
He said: "I will be signing up and I hope to be able to welcome a Ukrainian family and look after them in my home to give that support that they need.
"If you can do it, I urge you to sign up as well."
For more information on the Homes for Ukraine scheme click here.