refugees - Ukrainian flag flying at Willaston war memorial (1)

More than 170 families in Cheshire East have now offered a place in their homes to Ukrainian refugees, writes Belinda Ryan.

Latest available figures released by Cheshire East Council – up to May 4 – show the number of residents who applied for the Homes for Ukraine Scheme increased by 33% in a week.

On April 27, the full council was told 130 families had applied to be sponsors.

At next Wednesday’s annual full council meeting (May 18), members are expected to approve the receipt of up to £12,600,000 government funding for the 2022/23 financial year to support the Homes for Ukraine Scheme.

A report due to go before next week’s meeting states: “As at May 4, 174 sponsors in Cheshire East have volunteered properties to accommodate one or more refugees, with more than 400 Ukraine nationals registered to come to the borough under the scheme.

“It is anticipated that these numbers will continue to change as the scheme progresses.

“As the numbers of Ukraine guests is uncapped and sponsor-led it would be reasonable to expect up to 1,000 guests in the coming weeks.”

According to the report, the funding from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities provides for up to 1,000 Ukrainian guests arriving and residing in 500 sponsor properties.

The government is giving £10,500 per person to councils to enable them to provide support to families to rebuild their lives and fully integrate into communities.

It also makes provision for a £4,200 thank you payment per annum to sponsors.

Cheshire East Council says the scheme will not impact on its own budget.

“The number of arrivals and therefore total expenditure is an estimate at this stage,” states the report.

“The grant tariff provided by the government is expected to be sufficient to meet the objectives of the scheme.

“Therefore, this decision will not impact on the council’s medium term financial strategy.”

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