Can you offer a spare room in your home for a Ukraine guest?

The government's Homes for Ukraine scheme was launched in March 2022 to help offer Ukrainian refugees accommodation in the UK, and more than 1,400 guests have arrived so far in Buckinghamshire.

The generosity of Bucks residents has been amazing, with many residents offering to host people from Ukraine, providing not just accommodation, but a warm welcome, a network of support and help with settling into the UK.

While many residents are happy to extend their sponsorship agreement to 12 months, for some it isn’t feasible to continue beyond the first six months – which is why Rematching Sponsors are needed for some Ukrainian families.

A Rematching Sponsor is a sponsor who agrees to host an individual guest or guest family after the ending of their original sponsorship. As the guest or guest family has already been in Buckinghamshire, lots of the essential steps to help them settle have already been completed.

As well as providing a spare room, the ask for the Rematching Sponsor is to:

  • befriend their guests
  • make them feel welcome
  • assist them with life in the UK and share local knowledge about your community
  • continue to help them practise their English language skills
  • assist and/or advise them with becoming independent

Each sponsor who accommodates a Ukrainian guest has a Sponsor Liaison Officer to help with any queries or issues throughout the duration of the sponsorship. Sponsors also receive a £350 a month 'thank you' payment which is payable for up to 12 months after guests arrive in the UK.

Rematching is vitally important as it offers guests the opportunity to stay in the same community they have already settled in. This means:

  • children can continue to go to the same school they have already made friends in and there is no disruption to curriculum or learning
  • guests can continue to lean on and build community ties including local support networks
  • guests can continue to go to the workplace they have secured

Martin Tett, Leader of Buckinghamshire Council, commented:

“The dreadful war in Ukraine is continuing and with attacks by Russia on civilian infrastructure, like power and water supplies, it is impossible for most refugees to go home. Therefore, it is doubly important that we continue to offer our help and hospitality. Existing sponsors have told me that they have found the experience to be hugely rewarding and, in some cases, positively life changing.

“Staying with a Rematching Sponsor helps families avoid temporary accommodation, which normally means moving to a different area with all the disruption to social connections and family life that this would involve.

“With Christmas approaching and with family possibly coming to visit or stay, we know many people may feel reluctant to sign up to be a Rematching Sponsor right now, but please still express your interest to help in the new year and indicate when you would be available so we can plan accordingly. 

“If you feel committing to a sponsorship for six months is too much, but you would still like to help, please consider becoming an Emergency or Temporary Sponsor. Emergency or Temporary Sponsors can host individual guests or guest families in their household for a short amount of time while an alternative solution is found. This short-term fix can prevent unnecessary stays in hotels, potentially many miles from where they are living today, and support already vulnerable children staying at their current school and keeping friends they have made."

There is a ready-made network of support groups from Beaconsfield to Buckingham, including the Marlow Ukraine Collective, Friends of Ukraine at the Vineyard, and Hilltops Ukrainian Support Community to name a few.

If you would like to talk to somebody about becoming a Rematching, Emergency or Temporary Sponsor or have any additional queries email the Ukraine Support team ([email protected]). There is a wealth of advice on our website for sponsors and guests, please visit: buckinghamshire.gov.uk/Ukraine