Richmond reacts to the Homes for Ukraine scheme

The Government launched its Homes for Ukraine scheme last week to allow the public to support Ukrainian refugees fleeing from the war between Russia and Ukraine.

Phase One of the scheme, which opened on Friday, allows members of the public to sponsor named individuals or families to stay in their homes and enables these people to apply for a visa.

The Government was criticised for previously only offering visas to Ukrainian refugees with families in the UK.

The public can register their interest in becoming a sponsor for the scheme via a webpage on the government website.

SWL took to the streets of Richmond to get views on the scheme from members of the public.

Charity worker Camilla Start, 29, said: “I think it’s a good thing that the Government are trying to do something.

“I think it will be interesting to see in practise how many people actually get to benefit from it. Time will tell.

“If I had a spare room I definitely would be willing to allow a Ukrainian refugee to stay in my home.

“I think there are plenty of people who do have the capacity to take people in.”

CURIOUS: Camilla is interested in seeing how beneficial the scheme will be

Photographer Caroline James, 65, added: “I think it’s very good but I hope it’s going to be policed.

“I don’t think you want people going into homes that could have any issues and you want to know that the reasons why they’re taking people in are valid. Those taking people in need to be vetted.”

Florist Shelley Batchelor, 38, said: “I think the scheme will be very useful and very good. I would be very willing to open up my home to a Ukranian refugee.

“I think what they are going through right now is terrible and they need as much support as possible.”

SUPPORTIVE FLORIST: Shelley is very supportive of the new scheme and is willing to host a refugee

A man who has already registered his interest for the scheme said: “I’m in favour of the Homes for Ukraine scheme. I think it’s a good idea.

“It’s time to allow people to take in those who are in dire need. We need to get people over.

“This country has a history of supporting people in crisis and I think we should do so.”

As part of the scheme, households will be paid £350 a month for hosting refugees, if they commit to offering accommodation for at least six months.

It will carry out background checks on sponsors, their families, and the accommodation they will offer as well as checks on Ukrainians arriving in the UK but it is unknown how long this vetting process will take.

Featured Image Credit: Aurel Obreja via Flickr under CC BY-NC 2.0 license

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