Wandsworth residents who have welcomed Ukrainian refugees into their homes have received a council cash bonus to thank them for their compassion and generosity.
Around 500 Wandsworth resident households have opened their doors to more than 830 Ukrainian refugees under the national Homes for Ukraine scheme. This is the second highest number in London and the fifth highest in the country.
Now, the council is providing a monthly cash payment of £500 to those local families who have been hosting refugees for more than six months. This contrasts with the Government scheme, which pays this enhanced amount only to those who have been hosting arrivals who have been in the UK for at least one year.
The council has taken this decision to thank those who have been able to go beyond the minimum six-month hosting commitment, in recognition of the increased pressures host families are facing due to the cost-of-living crisis.
Households that have been involved in supporting Ukrainian refugees for less than six months are receiving £350 a month.
The enhanced payment chimes with the Town Hall’s work to achieve Borough of Sanctuary status. The Borough of Sanctuary movement is part of a national initiative to create a network of towns and cities throughout the UK that are proud to be places of safety and inclusion for people seeking sanctuary.
The council is working in close partnership with local charities, voluntary organisations and civic society groups to improve the way Wandsworth supports refugees. The Wandsworth Migration Forum has brought together key organisations, including the NHS, JobCentre Plus and local voluntary sector groups. The Forum provides an opportunity for attendees to share information and coordinate action to ensure refugees and asylum seekers in Wandsworth get the support and welcome they need.
Kemi Akinola, Deputy Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for the Voluntary Sector, Business Engagement and Culture, said: “We are fully committed to becoming a Borough of Sanctuary for those fleeing wars and repression around the world.
“This funding for households that have welcomed refugees into their homes will ensure that the support is in place to help newly arrived vulnerable people to establish themselves in new surroundings, overcome the trauma they may have experienced, to thrive and become valued new residents of our borough.
“Improving our services for refugees and asylum seekers who move to Wandsworth is a key component of our determination to make Wandsworth a fairer and more compassionate borough, committed to improving the daily lives of all who live here.”