New £100k county council fund to help Ukrainian refugees integrating in Notts

Nottinghamshire County Council's County Hall
By Andrew Topping, Local Democracy Reporter

A new grant scheme for community organisations supporting Ukrainian refugees in Nottinghamshire will open next week.

Nottinghamshire County Council approved the new project at the start of July, with £100,000 set aside for local charities and organisations to bid for grants to help Ukrainians during their stay in the county.

The funding is expected to help provide English language classes, job clubs, financial support and advice, plus tackle loneliness and isolation, promote health and wellbeing and organise community events.

It comes as part of Government cash allocated to the Conservative-run authority in the Homes for Ukraine scheme to help integrate more than 1,000 expected refugees fleeing the conflict with Russia.

Council papers state that, as of June 23, 1,170 people had been matched with sponsors in Nottinghamshire – coming to the county in 815 different families or groups.

A total of 539 sponsors have so far been matched with a singular or a group of Ukrainian refugees, but the authority expects this figure to rise due to the high number of people expressing an interest in the scheme.

The Government is providing cash to upper-tier councils, including the county council and Nottingham City Council, to support relief efforts and integrate refugees into society.

Councils will receive £10,500 per person, with Nottinghamshire County Council expecting to receive about £12 million based on the number of refugees expected to arrive and people interested in sponsorship.

There is also extra funding to provide a ‘thank you’ payment to sponsor families, totalling £350 a month per sponsor, and support with providing school places for young children where possible.

The funding of educational places is expected to cost between £3,000 and £8,755 depending on the age of the child.

Earlier this month, Councillor John Cottee (Con), cabinet member for communities, approved the community support scheme and created the £100,000 pot to support integrating refugees into society.

And in a report published ahead of Cllr Cottee’s decision, the authority confirmed applications will open on Monday, July 18.

They will then be considered “on a rolling basis” until the £100,000 pot has been used.

In the report, Derek Higton, service director for place and communities, said: “This is a fast-moving situation with communities across Nottinghamshire welcoming Ukrainian refugees, wanting to help integrate our guests into everyday life.

“The council is working with local voluntary sector organisations and faith groups and wants to support those which provide essential services, help meet needs and support integration within the wider community.

“It is proposed that an allocation of £100,000 from the HFU Scheme funding received from the government is earmarked to support this initiative.

“This proposed allocation is proportionate, in that it aims to support local community projects and activities to welcome and integrate refugees arriving in Nottinghamshire as part of this scheme.”

The cash will be provided through the authority’s Local Community Fund, the report adds.

People coming to the UK from Ukraine will be able to live and work in the country for up to three years and access benefits, healthcare, employment and other support during this period.

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