Saturday, 02 July 2022

250 refugees matched with hosts but only 30 here

250 refugees matched with hosts but only 30 here

ABOUT 250 Ukraine refugees have been matched with host families in Wokingham borough, according to the council’s leader.

John Halsall said these included about 115 women and 100 children while the number of host households is about 105.

The Ukrainians are all waiting for visas to be granted and so far about 30 refugees have arrived.

Councillor Halsall, who lives in Remenham, said: “Our caseworkers are often being asked about SIM cards once their guests arrive. We know a UK phone number is needed to set up a bank account and access other support but our teams don’t currently get a direct supply of SIM cards.

“At the moment these are only provided to charities to distribute. If anyone needs a SIM for a guest we’ll refer them to our partners at the Citizens Advice Wokingham One Front Door.

“They’ll then be able to access these Vodafone SIM cards through some of the charities in our area, which they can get to you directly or via your case worker.

“These will be free for six months and include 20GB of data plus free calls and texts. At the moment Vodafone is also offering free calls and texts to Ukraine.

“Another option could be to go to a local Three store, which is providing free SIM cards directly to refugees. These would be a free 30-day pay-as-you-go sim with unlimited UK calls, texts and data as well as free calls and texts to Ukraine.”

Meanwhile, the council’s adult education team is running English as a second language courses in-person and online.

Cllr Halsall said: “All Ukrainian adults and their family members supported through the Ukraine Family Scheme and Homes for Ukraine scheme are immediately eligible for further education 19+ funding and exempt from the three-year residency requirement.”

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