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- About Cambridge City
- Your first few days
- Looking ahead
- Finances and benefits
- Finding a job
- Education and learning
- Activities for children and young people
- Emergency services
- What to do if you are worried about an adult
- What to do if you are worried about a child
- Places of worship
- Community support
- Bringing your pet to the UK from Ukraine
- Support with visa enquiries
- Moving out of your host's household
Welcome to Cambridge
The aim of the ‘Homes for Ukraine’ sponsorship scheme is to help you have a safe and comfortable experience in the UK. We know this might take some time.
The Local Sponsorship Scheme for Ukraine means that you can live and work in the UK for up to three years.
You will be able to access healthcare, welfare benefits, employment, support, education, and language tuition. Your host has agreed to share their home with you for a minimum of six months.
This guide aims to help you take the first steps towards this by providing some basic information about some key characteristics of the UK and important services you will want to access.
Your sponsor, together with community organisations and local authorities, will help you with these initial steps.
The Government has also created welcome packs Ukrainians arriving in the UK:
- Welcome guide for Ukrainian adults arriving in the UK [GOV.UK]
- Welcome guide for Ukrainian children under 18 arriving in the UK [GOV.UK]
These meetings are for the local Ukrainian community and all new arrivals, to meet, share important information and support each other. Meetings will take place in the Downing Place United Reformed Church cafeteria space (Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3EL) every Saturday at 12pm. Any changes will be communicated via Cambridge for Ukraine social networks (Twitter Cambridge4Ukr, Instagram @cambridge4ukraine).
About Cambridge City
Cambridge has welcomed refugees from around the world and is proud to be known as a city that welcomes all.
Cambridge is in the East of England, we are a multicultural city where many faiths and cultures live alongside each other, and over 44 different languages are spoken.
Cambridge is a university city situated in the county of Cambridgeshire, England. It is located on the River Cam.
View Visit Cambridge for ideas on things to do in Cambridge.
Your sponsor is not only providing you with a room or rooms in which to stay, but will also help you, as much as they can, in adjusting to life in the UK.
The first thing they will do is try to make sure you are comfortable in your accommodation, and that you have access to basics such as food, bedding and toiletries. They will also have a lot of knowledge they will be able to share with you about the area in which you are staying.
The No Accommodation Network (Naccom) has produced guidance for sponsors on how to make the arrangement as successful as possible.
Whilst your sponsor will be able to help you with information such as the location of local schools for your children, local doctors, dentists, shops, churches, community centres, council offices and so on, it is important to remember that they are unlikely to be experts about local services. This guide will help you find the services that you might need.
Shortly after you arrive at your sponsor’s home, you will be visited by a representative from the local council. This is nothing to worry about. We will mainly be interested in checking that you have arrived safely and that the accommodation you are living in is suitable.
We use information about basic details of guests (such as age, gender, arrival date) and hosts (such as location) to plan services and support, for example to make sure there are enough school places. This information is shared with other local authorities, health services and relevant voluntary and community sector organisations. The information that is shared is not individually identifiable, only totals are shared.
Please also see the Ukrainians Welcome site that includes useful information.
We ask that hosts give guests as much notice as possible, ideally two months or more, if they plan to stop hosting.
Experience has shown that rematching a guest with a new host is not an easy task and, as your local council, we want and intend to take an active role in trying to steer both guests and hosts through this process.
We have access to a list of hosts who have expressed an interest in taking guests but are yet to be matched to anyone and we would urge hosts or guests to contact us in the first instance.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We must conduct DBS (safeguarding) checks and accommodation checks for new hosts, whether they have been found through the Council or by other means, and for safeguarding purposes these checks are required before Ukrainian guests move into new accommodation. Allowing time for the checks to be made should be factored into any planned moving dates.
- Hosts and/or guests should contact us in the first instance if unable to continue beyond their initial six-month hosting period
- Guests must be given two months notice if hosts are unable to extend their hospitality
- If onward accommodation is found via other means, hosts/guests must contact us so that we can carry out DBS and home checks, before guests move in.
Guests moving on from the Homes for Ukraine scheme
We know that some guests may feel they are ready to move on from being hosted as part of the Homes for Ukraine scheme, and may wish to find their own accommodation. If this is the case, our team can support you to consider your options – this could include financial support such as to cover your rental deposit. Please contact our Housing Advice team by emailing email@example.com.
Community groups helping to match guests and hosts
We are asking any groups, or organisations, which are helping Ukrainian guests and hosts to contact our team as soon as possible if they are seeking help to move on.
We want to be sure that enough time is allowed to carry out checks in advance of any potential moves.
Guest subsistence payments
The Government scheme provides £200 per guest as a one-off payment to help with essential costs as guests arrive in the UK. However, Government guidance gives flexibility to local authorities to decide what additional support may be needed, while longer-term arrangements are established. In light of this, the council is increasing guest subsistence payments to £350 per guest. These payments will be made through the Post Office Pay Now Scheme. Guests will receive an email, or text, with a code that they can take to any Post Office to collect their payment. You can find your nearest Post Office by typing in your address to into their website.
If you have arrived through another scheme, such as the Family Visa Scheme and are in need of financial support you can view which financial support you may be eligible for.
Opening a bank account
There are a range of banks, and you can choose one that suits you best. There are also online only providers which you can use.
To open a bank account in the UK, you usually need to show proof of ID such as passport, biometric residency permit, driver’s licence or recognised identity card. You also need proof of permanent address.
The Government is working with major banks to find a solution to enable you to open accounts without the usual permanent address requirement.
A number of UK banks already have a system for opening accounts where you do not have a permanent UK address. You may need to get the help of a local charity or your local authority to help you do this. You can open a Ukrainian refugee bank account without a UK permanent address at NatWest or HSBC.
Cash points are available in various locations across the city, including most supermarkets. When you are paying for food at supermarkets you can also ask for cashback. Many local shops also offer you the option of paying bills or sending or receiving money from abroad.
Find your nearest PayPoint outlet.
Access to benefits
The UK has a welfare system which is designed to help those in financial need. If you were resident in Ukraine immediately before 1 January 2022 and are fleeing the Russian invasion of Ukraine, you and your family can apply for benefits from the day you arrive in the UK.
The Cambridge Job Centre Plus can help get you access to benefits and can help you find a job.
- Address: Henry Giles House, 73-79 Chesterton Road, Cambridge CB4 CBQ.
- Phone number: 0800 169 0190
- Opening times: Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm
They will be able to help you find out which benefits you may be able to access. This may include:
- Universal Credit – a payment for those of working age, to help with your living costs if you’re on a low income. You could be working (including self-employed or part time) or be out of work;
- Housing benefit – if you are aged over 66 and you live in rented accommodation, this can help you pay your rent if you’re on a low income, or claiming benefits.
- Pension Credit – extra money to help with your living costs if you are over the age of 66 and on a low income. Applications for Pensions is online or via telephone
- Disability benefits – extra money to help with additional costs if you have a long term physical or mental health condition or disability
- Carer’s allowance – extra money if you care for someone at least 35 hours a week.
- Child benefit – extra money to help with the cost of raising a child.
Form the Future can help unemployed people, ages 15 to 24 years old, gain the skills for the next steps in employment or education.
Activities they can offer are:
- personalised CV and application writing support
- work experience
- future career path needs assessment
To find out more about the support they can offer, please call 01223 609 063 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Adult Learn and Train offers free English courses for learners where English is not their first language.
The course aims to help you understand, and speak, English with more confidence and ability.
To book your place, or for more information about funding, please call 01223 712340.
Homes for Ukraine guests who live in a separate property to their hosts will be liable to pay Council Tax. This will be at a 50% discounted rate. If you are on a low income, you can apply for a Council Tax Reduction through the usual process.
IT equipment (including laptops and mobile phones)
Cambridge Refugee Resettlement Campaign has partnered with Laptops4Learning - a company that refurbishes tech devices obtained from companies and educational establishments and recycles them, ready for use by people in need.
The partnership project is aimed at those arriving from Ukraine who are facing situations in their lives which will be helped by having access to working technology.
The form can be completed by the family themselves or by the host/sponsor once the family has arrived in Cambridge.
The IT equipment is expected to be supplied within two weeks.
Email questions about this scheme to: Admin_TeamUkraine@cambridgerefugees.org.
People arriving in the UK under the Ukraine Family Scheme or the Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme (Homes for Ukraine) will be granted leave to remain in the UK for three years. They can live here, work here, and access benefits and public services.
The government Ukrainian welcome guide includes some great advice regarding finding a job and paying tax.
Cambridge Job Centre Plus can help get you access to benefits and can help you find a job.
- Address: Henry Giles House, 73-79 Chesterton Road, Cambridge CB4 CBQ.
- Phone number: 0800 169 0190
- Opening times: Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm
Cambridge for Ukraine is also supporting people to find work by offering to review CVs and listing local jobs on their website. Check their website or contact email@example.com for more information.
Every employer must pay their employees a minimum amount per hour. From April 2023 the National Minimum Wage is:
- Ages 23 and over: £10.42
- Ages 21 or 22: £10.18
- Ages 18 to 20: £7.49
- Under 18 or an apprentice: £5.28
You will have to pay tax on your earnings if you earn over a certain amount. Your employment status, such as self employed or agency worker, can affect the amount of tax that you pay.
In the UK the government (through Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC)) collects tax on labour and assets.
Find out more about income tax.
You pay National Insurance contributions to qualify for certain benefits and the State Pension. Find more information on National Insurance.
A National Insurance (NI) number is used to make sure your National Insurance contributions and tax are recorded against your name only. This is a code with letters and numbers and never changes.
When you make an application you will need to give a copy of your passport and proof that you have the right to work. The employer you want to work for will tell you what documents you need to show.
Recognition of professional qualifications
Ukrainian people who hold professional qualifications may need them to be recognised in the UK, if they work in a regulated profession.
The UK Centre for Professional Qualifications provides a free service which explains whether a profession is regulated and any entry requirements: 0871 226 2850.
The UK welcomes teachers who have trained overseas. View the Get Into Teaching information on Ukrainian teachers and trainees coming to the UK.
- Early years and childcare information (Cambridgeshire County Council leaflet) [PDF, 0.1MB]
- Early years and childcare information - Ukrainian version (Cambridgeshire County Council) [PDF, 0.2MB]
- Early years and childcare information - Russian version (Cambridgeshire County Council) [PDF, 0.2MB]
All children living in the UK under the Homes for Ukraine Scheme and the Ukraine Family Scheme are eligible to enrol as a student. This is free.
All young people in England are required to continue in education or training until their 18th birthday, and most continue until the end of the academic year in which they turn 18.
The stages of UK education are:
- Early years or nursery (under 5 years old)
- Primary (5 to 11 years old)
- Secondary (11 to 16 years old)
- Further education (16 to19 years old)
The Cambridgeshire County Council manage the Cambridge education system and have full details on their website. Families arriving from Ukraine with school aged children who need to apply for a school place can find admissions forms in Ukrainian, Russian and English at School admissions for Ukrainian children.
Cambridge City Council lead the Form the Future CIC as part of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Region of Learning project, which will run until December 2023. Form the Future provides free support to individuals on their journey into the world of work. Check you're eligible for the free support on the Form the Future website.
The University of Cambridge is a world leading university made up of 31 colleges. The University has many groups and societies the Cambridge community can get involved in.
Cambridge University has an active Ukrainian Society.
The University of Cambridge has a sports centre. This centre has a gym, sports courts, fitness classes clubs and offers many membership options.
Anglia Ruskin University is another university based in the centre of Cambridge for higher education. Its Cambridge Campus is located at: Anglia Ruskin University, East Rd, Cambridge CB1 1PT.
Cambridge University Help for Ukraine is a comprehensive package of new support for students and academics displaced by the war on Ukraine.
UCAS provides help with student finance if you're a refugee or asylum seeker applying to higher education. There may be support available to help you with finance and your studies.
GOV.UK provides information about student finance for undergraduates.
English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) are available at registered learning centres. We can assist you with access to ESOL courses from accredited providers (up to 12 months) and translation services.
If you wish to enrol in ESOL courses in Cambridge, please contact the following providers:
- Cambridge Regional College (CRC)
- Cambridgeshire Skills
- The Centre for the Study of Global Human Movement
- Facilitating access to higher education. Offering a course for refugees on academic English and entry to UK universities over eight sessions this June (online and off-line). Also holding mental health sessions.
- Workers’ Educational Association (WEA)
- Please direct referrals to email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Supporting Employment Opportunities course in Cambridgeshire for Refugees [PDF, 0.1MB]
- Welcome to the UK course in Cambridgeshire for Refugees [PDF, 0.1MB]
Cambridge Central Library is at 7 Lion Yard, Cambridge CB2 3QD. Cambridge also has libraries in Arbury Court, Barnwell Road, Cherry Hinton, Milton Road, Rock Road and Trumpington (Clay Farm).
Joining the library is free and there is no charge for borrowing books or using the PCs and WiFi. You don’t need any ID to join.
You can use the library to:
- access study space
- use WiFi and computers with internet and printers
- browse books and borrow up to 12 items at a time
- read eNewspapers in many languages
- join our free storytimes and rhyme-times for children and their parents/carers.
To find out more, please visit Cambridgeshire County Council libraries.
Childcare in England
There is childcare available for children aged from birth to five years and for school aged children.
There are several different types of childcare to suit a variety of needs.
From birth to five years:
• Day Nurseries
• Private Nursery Schools
• Pre-schools and Playgroups
• Local authority nursery schools and classes
• Independent schools
For school aged children:
• Breakfast clubs
• After school clubs
• Holiday clubs
Depending on their circumstances, guests can get help with the cost of childcare on the government education and childcare webpages, including:
- 15 free hours of childcare per week for all children aged 3 and 4
- An extra 15 hours of free childcare if they work and their child is aged 3 and 4
- Free childcare if their child is 2 years old and they are on a very low income or receive certain benefits.
Cambridgeshire Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) Programme
The Cambridgeshire Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme offers funded places to school age children (4 to 16 years) during the Easter, summer, and Christmas school holidays.
There are many holiday schemes to choose from which all offer children the chance to play with other children, take part in a variety of fun activities, sports or drama and eat a healthy meal.
Each scheme will have adults present who are trained to work with and support children. Transport to the schemes can be arranged if it is needed.
To find out if you are eligible and for more information, please email the HAF Team at HAF@cambridgeshire.gov.uk.
Scouting in Cambridge provides an opportunity for children and young people to develop leadership and team skills through camping and adventurous activities.
Cambridge Scout District comprises of 4 explorer scout units:
- squirrel scouts: 4 to 6 years old
- beaver scouts: 6 to 8 years old
- cub scouts: 8 to 11 years old
- scouts: 10.5 to 14.5 years old
- explorer scouts: 14.5 to 18 years old
Cambridgeshire Library Service
Cambridgeshire Libraries are working with Living Knowledge Network/Sanctuary Foundation and Libraries Connected/Ukrainian Embassy to make a selection of children’s books freely available to Ukrainian children in the UK.
These include dual language titles as well as titles in Ukrainian. They are available at Cambridge Central Library. Find out more on the Central Library Facebook page.
Your hosts may wish to support you with food and other essentials, but they are not required to do so.
If you do not have food or other essentials provided and do not have access to money to buy what you need, check the available Community Food Hubs, Foodbanks and other food resources available in Cambridge.
It is common in the UK to buy all your groceries and essentials in a supermarket. The main supermarkets are called Tesco, Co-op, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Morrison’s, and Aldi. Villages will usually have a local shop. Most big supermarkets can be reached by buses.
Pod Orlem is a Polish food shop that supplies Ukrainian food, located at 36 Milton Road Cambridge CB4 1JY. Their contact number is: 01223 355778.
You can also visit Polish Market Jess at 74 Newmarket Road, Cambridge CB5 8DZ. Telephone them on 01223 321733.
The police are there to help and assist you as part of their role to keep people safe and uphold the law. You should not be afraid to approach them if you are the victim of a crime, see a crime happening, or for general assistance; for example, if you are lost.
To report a crime, you should call the following telephone numbers:
- 999 – This is the number to call in an emergency. For example, if you are the victim of an assault or see a crime taking place. Ask for the ‘police’ when you get through. This is also the number to call if you need an ambulance or if there is a fire.
- 112 - is a common emergency telephone number that can be dialled free of charge from most mobile telephones, and in some countries, fixed telephones in order to reach emergency services - ambulance, fire and rescue, police.
- 101 – This is the number to call for less urgent situations. For example, if your property has been damaged.
If you are not satisfied with the service you have received from the police, you can complain directly to the police unit or office in question or the Independent Office for Police Conduct, which is responsible for overseeing the system for handling complaints made against police forces in England and Wales. The role of these institutions is to impartially, independent of the police, investigate conduct and behaviour.
Reporting war crimes from Ukraine
The Metropolitan Police is supporting the International Criminal Court (ICC) investigation regarding possible war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity in Ukraine. If you have personally experienced or have witnessed any crimes, please do report it. Report a war crime to the Metropolitan Police.
If you need to report a fire you should call 999.
Access to medical support in an emergency
If you or a family member has a serious accident or a sudden serious illness you should go to your nearest hospital with an Accident and Emergency (A&E) department. Emergency treatment at Accident and Emergency services at NHS hospitals is free for everyone.
Our closest A&E department is at Addenbrooke's hospital in Cambridge.
If it is an extreme emergency, call 999 or 112 and ask for an ambulance to transport you to a hospital. This service is free of charge but should only be used in an emergency. If you are able to do so, you may also make your own way to the Accident and Emergency department.
The NHS provide information on when to call 999.
All Ukrainian arrivals are entitled to full and free access to the National Health Service (NHS).
A general practitioner, commonly known as a GP, is the first doctor you will usually visit for routine health problems in the UK.
Ukrainian arrivals can receive emergency treatment from a GP surgery for 14 days. After that, you will need to register with a GP.
To help you register with a GP, the NHS has developed bilingual registration forms.
The government's migrant health guide includes how the NHS operates and how it compares to the healthcare system you are used to.
A GP can offer medical advice, provide a diagnosis and prescribe medicines. They might be your first point of contact for many physical and mental health concerns. The GP practice is also responsible for co-ordinating and managing your long-term healthcare and they can refer you if you need more specialised hospital services
Everyone has a right to register with a GP and you do not need proof of address, immigration status, ID or an NHS number (you may be asked to provide ID but it is not a requirement). We strongly recommend that you register with a GP as soon as possible after you arrive. You can also register temporarily if you expect to be in an area for more than 24 hours but less than 3 months. If you have ID this can help make sure your name is spelled correctly in your NHS records.
No charges for the use of most NHS services for new arrivals from Ukraine
Everyone who is ordinarily resident in Ukraine and their immediate family members who are lawfully in the UK can access NHS care in England for free.
Some services still incur charges, like prescriptions, dentistry, and optometry – but guests from Ukraine may be eligible for reduced charges or free care for these services.
If your GP wants you to take a particular medication, he or she will provide you with a prescription that you will need to take to your local pharmacy or chemist. The GP surgery will be able to advise you about where you should go to collect your medicine.
There is normally a small charge for prescriptions, which you will be asked to pay when you collect your medication at the pharmacy. However, prescriptions are provided free of charge if you meet certain requirements. There is some variation in what prescriptions are provided depending on where in the UK you are living, but in general, your prescription will be free if you are:
- age 60 or over
- age 16 or under
- age 16 to 18 and in full-time education
- pregnant (or have had a baby in the previous 12 months)
- an inpatient receiving care in an NHS hospital
This list is not exhaustive; free prescriptions may also be available if you have certain specified medical conditions or a continuing physical disability. If you think this may apply to you, you should ask your GP who will be able to provide you with advice.
As well as providing you with any prescribed medication, a pharmacist can also give you free advice on treating minor health problems, such as colds and coughs. Some very common medications, such as painkillers and cough medicines, are available for sale over the counter. You will not need a prescription for these types of medication, but you will have to pay for them yourself.
Walk-in or Urgent Treatment centre
If you need treatment or advice that is not an emergency, but cannot wait until you next see your GP, you can obtain advice by calling 111. This is a service operated by the NHS. NHS 111 will be able to refer you to a doctor or to a local Urgent Treatment Centre or provide you other guidance, depending on your circumstances and needs.
In many parts of the country, NHS also provides Walk-In or Urgent Treatment Centres where you can receive treatment for minor injuries such as cuts, sprains and small fractures, or receive urgent medical advice, without having made an appointment. These centres are usually open during daytime hours.
Mental health services
Mental health problems range from the worries we all experience as part of everyday life to serious long-term conditions. We understand that you have been through a very traumatic time and been exposed to a huge mental stress. There are mental health services available throughout the country that can help you if you are struggling. If you, or someone you love, need help this is best arranged through making an appointment with your GP.
If you are struggling but do not want to talk to a GP, there are a wide-range of support organisations that offer helplines where you can talk in confidence to a trained advisor. These include:
Further information on these and other support organisations and helpline services is available at NHS mental health.
Please also see the Ukrainian translated introduction to NHS mental health services leaflet.
To find support in your local area, you can also use the Hub of Hope. You can access some services directly, without going to your GP for a referral first.
Maternity care and services
You will be offered free care when you are pregnant and after you give birth. This is likely to be arranged through your GP. Maternity services cover care from the beginning of pregnancy through to sign off by a midwife: this is usually around 10 days after the birth but can be up to 6 weeks postnatally.
Midwives ensure that personalised care is provided throughout pregnancy, childbirth and the postnatal period. Much of this care will be provided directly by midwives, who will also coordinate the provision of obstetric or other medical involvement if necessary.
You should contact a GP or midwife as soon as you find out you’re pregnant. It’s important to see a midwife or GP as early as possible to get the pregnancy (antenatal) care and information you need to have a healthy pregnancy.
You are also entitled to support from a health visitor. A health visitor is a qualified nurse or midwife who has had extra training. They’re there to help you, your family and children up to the age of 5 years old to stay healthy.
View the government pregnancy and birth webpages for information on all you need to know about pregnancy, labour, birth and NHS maternity services.
You are entitled to NHS dental care to help keep your mouth, teeth and gums free of pain. If your tooth is painful you should call NHS 111 for Urgent Dental Care Services.
You can search for local dentists and ask to register for an appointment. NHS dentistry is only free by exemption (for example, if you are aged under 18 or in receipt of low income benefits). Costs for dental appointments depend on what treatment you are having.
You can make an appointment with any high street optician to have an eyesight test or get help with your glasses or contact lenses. There may be costs unless you are eligible for a free NHS eyesight test or optical vouchers.
Protection against infectious diseases
NHS vaccinations are free to everyone and give the best protection to children and adults against infectious diseases such as meningitis, mumps, measles, and rubella. Speak to your GP if you think you or your child have missed any vaccinations and an appointment can be arranged.
Health visitors and school nursing
If you have a child aged 18 or younger you can ask for health advice from a Healthy Child Programme health visitor or school nurse by calling 0300 029 5050 or texting 07520 649887.
NHS Low Income Scheme (LIS)
The NHS Low Income Scheme provides support for patients who need help with paying for NHS prescriptions.
To apply you need to first complete a HC1 form. If you are eligible, you can then apply to the NHS Low Income Scheme for either an HC2 form (full help with health costs) or a HC3 form (limited help with health costs), subject to your eligibility.
If you have already paid for your prescriptions and later find that you are eligible for free prescriptions, you can apply for full or partial reimbursement of prescription costs depending on your income. Receipts for any prescription costs must be submitted in evidence.
The NHS Low Income Scheme also provides support for patients who need help with paying for NHS dental treatment.
You can find out if you qualify for the scheme by completing a HC1 form. However, you should continue to pay for any treatment carried out until any exemptions are confirmed.
If you receive treatment and find out within 3 months of the treatment you are entitled to receive free or reduced cost NHS dental treatment, you can claim a refund (V3) 08/2021.
Patients can find out if they’re entitled to free NHS dental treatment and help with other NHS costs using the online eligibility checker.
Pre-Payment Prescription (PPCs)
If you do not qualify for free prescriptions, you can buy a pre-payment prescription (PPCs) from the NHS. You can only get a PPC if you live in England.
A 3 or 12 month PPC covers all your prescriptions for that period, no matter how many you need.
A prescription costs £9.35 per item, but a PPC costs:
- £30.25 for 3 months
- £108.10 for 12 months
It may be cheaper to buy a PPC if you’re going to buy 4 or more prescriptions in 3 months, or 12 or more prescriptions in 12 months. You can pay in 10 monthly instalments if you buy a 12-month PPC.
How to buy
- Wellbeing support provided bv Refugee Council (Refugee Council leaflet) [PDF, 0.9MB]
- Wellbeing support provided by Refugee Council – Ukrainian version (Refugee Council leaflet) [PDF, 0.5MB]
Free 6 month gym membership
GLL are offering a free 6-month gym membership scheme to all Ukrainian refugees and other refugees who have sought asylum in the UK.
The scheme offers free Better Health Centre membership or lesson and course (if available) membership for a fixed 6-month period from join date.
The scheme is open to all refugees who have been granted refugee resettlement status in the last 12 months by the UK Government.
How do people apply?
Please email GLL directly via:
The applicant or sponsor will need to supply the relevant personal details in the email, plus attach proof of eligibility:
- First and last name
- Date of birth
- Email address
- Phone number
- Selected Better leisure centre
- Selected lesson or course, date/time/level (if this is being requested)
- Proof of eligibility for this scheme (they are accepting):
- Home Office letter
- Ukrainian Family Scheme Visa
- Proof of official application to UK Government as Ukrainian refugee
The following people can apply on behalf of the guest:
- The individual (adult or child)
- UK Family host supporting Ukraine refugees under the Governments UK Family Scheme
- Charitable support agencies such as Red Cross or Refugee Council
- GLL/Better in-centre operational staff when dealing face to face with a vulnerable group to support their application
You'll receive a response within 14 working days.
Barnados are running a Ukrainian Support Helpline to provide a holistic support service. The Helpline is free and available to anyone fleeing the conflict in Ukraine.
Get in touch if you need support with:
- therapy with a qualified psychotherapist – delivered via the phone or online, with access to interpreters
- advice on a range of issues e.g., housing, accessing key health services, education, employment and more via our trained helpline support workers
- practical support - access to digital devices to ensure families stay connected to loved ones during this worrying time, as well as stimulating toys for children, vital baby items and more
All services include access to interpreters in Ukrainian and Russian.
The Helpline is open:
- Monday to Friday, 10am to 8pm
- Saturday, 10am to 3pm
Daily online trauma and resilience support sessions for Ukrainians everywhere who need practical psychological and emotional support. Led by experts and translated into Ukrainian.
Sessions are held on zoom every day at 5.30pm UK time/7.30pm Ukrainian time led by experienced therapists and trauma coaches with Ukrainian translation. Sessions are 45 minutes long, except 60 minutes on Tuesdays.
- Direct link for live sessions.
- More details on the Sane Ukraine website.
- Re-watch the previous sessions by signing up to the Embodiment Studio
- There is also a Facebook page.
British Red Cross
The British Red Cross National Support Line 0808 196 3651 is available daily from 10am to 6pm. An interpreter can be requested when the call is connected. This free and confidential support line can:
- provide telephone-based psychosocial support
- signpost to British Red Cross information webpages
- signpost to other organisations nationally that can offer support
- provide information on donations
- facilitate emergency cash/vouchers
Child Bereavement UK has translated some of its resources on supporting bereaved children into Ukrainian and created accompanying translations for animations to help children manage and understand their feelings. These can all be found on the Child Bereavement UK website.
Anyone in mental health crisis can always find support through the NHS – call 111, visit your GP, or in an emergency dial 999 or visit Accident & Emergency department at the hospital.
CPSL Mind provides support to local people who may experience mental health challenges.
Domestic abuse and sexual violence
During your stay we expect you to be treated at all times with kindness and respect. However we would like to highlight that should you experience any harassment or unwanted behaviours that cause you to feel concerned or uncomfortable then there is help available.
Domestic abuse is a crime. Always call 999 in an emergency.
Any inappropriate behaviours that make you feel unsafe are completely unacceptable and you do not have to tolerate them.
This may include:
- attempts to limit your freedom
- asking you to participate in any activities that make you feel embarrassed or uncomfortable
- unwanted comments, harassment or advances of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment is unlawful. The law says it’s sexual harassment if the behaviour is either meant to, or has the effect of violating your dignity, or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment. This can include:
- sexual comments or jokes
- physical behaviour, including unwelcome sexual advances, touching and various forms of sexual assault
- displaying pictures, photos or drawings of a sexual nature
- sending emails or leaving messages with a sexual content
- controlling behaviours: a range of acts designed to make a person dependent by isolating them from sources of support, exploiting their resources and capacities for personal gain, depriving them of the means needed for independence, resistance and escape and regulating their everyday behaviour
- coercive behaviours: an act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten
- emotional abuse: insults, threats of harm
- physical abuse: hitting, or harming in any way physically
- sexual abuse: any unwanted sexual advances
- financial abuse: exploiting your resources such as money
Please see our advice for people affected by domestic abuse webpage for details on where to seek help and support to access somewhere safe to live.
Refugees' Aid Bank
Cherry Hinton Baptist Church is open every other Thursday, from noon to 2pm, for refugees who live in Cambridge to collect items freely.
- toiletries and hygiene items
- canned/long-life/non-perishable food such as pasta, rice, pulses, preserves and sugar
- household cleaning and washing items
- women and children's clothes
All adults have the right to live in safety, free from abuse and neglect. If you are concerned about an adult in your family, or an adult in a family you are hosting you can contact Cambridgeshire County Council by:
- Reporting abuse of an adult at risk online
- Telephoning 0345 045 5202, 8am to 6pm weekdays, 9am to 1pm Saturday
- Outside office hours, if someone is in danger and unable to protect themselves, or cannot remain in the community without immediate intervention, telephone: 01733 234 724
- If you feel that a person(s) or property is in immediate danger, call 999
We all have a responsibility to help keep children safe. If you are concerned about a child in your family, or in a family you are hosting, you can contact Cambridgeshire County Council by:
- Reporting child safeguarding concerns online
- Telephoning 0345 045 5203, 8am to 6pm weekdays, 9am to 1pm Saturday
- Outside office hours, if you are concerned that a child or family requires emergency safeguarding and/ or support, telephone: 01733 234 724
- If you feel that a person(s) or property is in immediate danger, call 999
Cambridge has a number of churches, some of which form a significant part of the city's architectural landscape. Like the rest of Cambridgeshire, it is part of the Anglican Diocese of Ely.
Great St Mary's Church has the status of "University Church". Many of the University colleges contain chapels that hold services according to the rites and ceremonies of the Church of England, while the chapel of St Edmund's College is Roman Catholic
- Our Lady of The Assumption and The English Martyrs Roman Catholic Church and Parish, Hills Road, Cambridge CB2 1JR
- St Lawrence’s, Roman Catholic church, 91 Milton Road Cambridge CB4 1XB
- Saint Philip Howard, Roman Catholic Parish Church, 33 Walpole Road Cambridge CB1 3TH. Website:
- Cambridge Polish Mission Catholic Church, Polonia House Chapel, 231 Chesterton Road, Cambridge CB4 1AS
- Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of the Holy Family, New Road, Peterborough PE2 9HA
- Orthodox Church of St Athanasios, Greek Orthodox congregation, 154 Cherry Hinton Road, Cambridge CB1 7AJ
- St Giles' Church, Romanian Orthodox congregation, Castle Street, Cambridge CB3 0AQ
- The United Reform Church (URC), 4 Downing Place, Cambridge CB2 3EL
- Wesley Methodist Church, Christ's Pieces, Cambridge CB1 1LG
- St Andrews Baptist Church, 40-43 St Andrew's St, Cambridge CB2 3AR
- Holy Trinity, Church of England, Market Passage, Cambridge CB2 3NZ
- St Barnabas, Church of England, Mill Rd, Cambridge CB1 2BD
- The C3 Church, non-denominational, 2 Brooks Road, CB1 3HR
- Kingsgate Church, non-denominational, Concert Hall, 11 West Road, Cambridge CB3 9DP
The Abu Bakr Jamia Islamic Centre on Mawson Road and the Omar Faruque Mosque and Cultural Centre in Kings Hedges serve the city's community of around 4,000 Muslims. There are several other smaller mosques dotted around the City. The two Universities also have an Islamic Society that hosts prayer sessions on Fridays.
- Cambridge Muslim Community Centre and Masjid, 4 Devonshire Road, Cambridge CB1 2BH
- Abu Bakr Jamia Mosque, 1A Mawson Road Cambridge CB1 2DZ
- Omar Faruque Mosque And Cultural Centre, Kirkwood Rood (Off Kings Hedges Road), Cambridge CB4 2PF
- Cambridge Central Mosque, 309-313 Mill Rd, Cambridge, CB1 3DF
An Orthodox synagogue and Jewish student centre is located on Thompson's Lane, operated jointly by the Cambridge Traditional Jewish Congregation and the Cambridge University Jewish Society.
The Beth Shalom Reform synagogue meets at Auckland Road.
- Beth Shalom Reform Synagogue, Auckland Road, Cambridge CB5 8DW
- Traditional Jewish Congregation, 3 Thompson’s Lane, Cambridge CB5 8AQ
A Buddhist centre was opened in the former Barnwell Theatre on Newmarket Road in 1998.
- Cambridge Buddhist Centre is located at: 38 Newmarket Rd, Cambridge CB5 8DT
The Baha'i Faith has a centre at 27 Worts Causeway, Cambridge CB1 8RJ.
The Hindu temple in Cambridge on Mill Road was closed in 2020. There is a temple in Peterborough, Bharat Hindu Samaj Mandir.
For Sikh worship there is Cambridge Gurdwara located at 150 Arbury Road, Chesterton Cambridge CB4 2JD.
Cambridge is only an hour away (50 miles or 80 kilometres) from the capital city, London, it has good links to other cities in the UK. The M11 motorway from east London terminates to the north-west of the city where it joins the A14.
Cambridge has several bus services, all of which operate seven days a week and are aimed at encouraging motorists to park near the city's edge in a carpark and use the bus services.
Since 2011, the Cambridgeshire Guided Busway has carried bus services into the centre of Cambridge from St Ives, Huntingdon, Peterborough and other towns and villages along the routes.
Cambridge station is less than an hour by train from London King's Cross, with links to other cities in the UK, via the Cambridge Line and the East Coast Main Line) and Liverpool Street (on the West Anglia Main Line).
There is a non-stop train to King's Cross every half-hour during off-peak hours, with a journey time of 45 minutes.
Trains also run to King's Lynn and Ely (via the Fen Line), Norwich (via the Breckland Line), Leicester, Birmingham, Peterborough, Stevenage, Ipswich and London Stansted Airport.
Cambridge4Ukraine (Cambridge for Ukraine) is a volunteer initiative set up by Ukrainians in Cambridge, which runs events and offers support for people who have arrived from Ukraine.
Mums4Ukraine is a local volunteer-run charity, which helps arrivals from Ukraine to settle in Cambridge and make local connections. They run an aid hub, ESOL classes, and have set up a Ukraine school.
We run a number of community centres across Cambridge, which are warm and welcoming spaces for residents to spend time in. Everyone is welcome at our any of our community centres – not only your closest one. There are events that are open to everyone, as well as plenty of clubs, activities and classes that people can sign up for. Find out more on our community centres page.
Cambridgeshire County Council run a Child and Family Centre at Cambridge City, The Fields Site. The Child and Family Centre offer groups, events, activities, courses and support for families with children aged 0 to 19. They are open from 9am to 4pm, Monday to Friday.
Sew Positive Sewing for Mental Health & Textile Waste Reduction runs sewing wellbeing sessions.
Rowan runs craft wellbeing sessions.
Cambridge Ethnic Community Forum (CECF) runs a Ukrainian Support project through which you can get advice on housing, ESOL classes, work, access to public services and benefits.
Cambridge Refugee Resettlement Campaign (CRRC) is a group of volunteers, initially set up by Citizens UK, that works with other organisations in Cambridge to welcome refugees and those seeking asylum.
Cambridge Russian-Speaking Society (CamRuSS) runs UK navigation events, a helpline, ESOL classes, trips and other activities.
Cambridge Russian School runs trips and excursions.
Abbey People is a charity supporting local families and those resettling from Ukraine.
Bringing your pet to the UK from Ukraine
The government has introduced support for those fleeing Ukraine with their pets.
In some cases you can bring your pet dog, cat or ferret without it going into quarantine or isolation. In other cases you will need a licence covering up to five pets that are travelling with you.
Check the government’s guidance about bringing your pet to the UK from Ukraine.
Support with visa enquiries
Homes for Ukraine is a charity with a team of experienced volunteers dedicated to helping displaced Ukrainian nationals to obtain visas, find safe accommodation, and settle comfortably in the UK.
The team matches Ukrainian nationals with their British sponsors, completing the protracted visa application process (including the particularly confusing Animal and Plant Health Agency licence applications for pets). They arrange temporary accommodation in Poland where required and then onward travel to the UK — all at the charity’s own cost.
When Ukrainian nationals have arrived in the UK, the charity provides phone sim cards and assists with setting up bank accounts and local registration with a doctor’s surgery. It also arranges English language tutoring, completes National Insurance applications and helps with school places, and much more.
Cambridge for Ukraine also supports lots of Ukrainians and may be able to give you advice about visas for your family.
And the Ukraine Advice Project UK may be able to support Ukrainians and hosts with free advice.
The Cambridge Ethnic Community Forum (CECF) is providing advice and practical help to asylum seekers and refugees in Cambridge.
Anglia Ruskin Law Clinic can provide legal advice.
Moving out of your host's household
If you are considering moving out of your host’s household and into your own accommodation, you may have some questions about how to do this in the UK.
For example, you may not be aware that in the UK you may need to contact a number of different suppliers, such as to manage your energy supply; your water supply; or your internet. You will also need to check with your local council about paying Council Tax (or ‘rates’).
You may find it useful to use the Money Helper Budget Planner, which sets out a comprehensive list of categories to consider related to your housing budget, including home insurance, TV licence, mobile phone contracts and more.
For support with household costs, please see our Cost of Living support web pages. You may be eligible for discounts from suppliers to reduce your bills, or you may be eligible for a number of benefits to boost your income, such as Housing Benefit or Universal Credit which could help towards the cost of your rent, for example.
Applying for a council rent home and private renting
You may be aware that in the UK, local councils provide social housing to some residents – this is where the council owns the property, and is able to charge lower rents.
Councils decide who gets offered social housing based on a ‘points’ or ‘banding’ system – prioritising available homes for those who are most in need.
For example, someone who is homeless, lives in overly crowded conditions, or has a medical condition made worse by their current home, would be most likely to be prioritised. Some people’s circumstances may mean that they do not become prioritised for social housing.
It is important to remember that finding a council rent home may not be a quick solution, because of the extremely high demand, especially in cities like Cambridge.
For example, there are currently 2,500 applicants on our system, but only 722 properties became available to let as social housing in the last year. Given these figures, finding social housing is likely to be a much slower process than finding private rented accommodation.
Please talk to your housing advisor about your likely chances of being prioritised for social housing, and what support there may be to find private rented accommodation. Please note that there is support available to both social housing tenants and private tenants with household costs, including rent. Please see our Cost of Living web pages, including information on Housing Benefit and Universal Credit.
Support from the council for private renting
The council can help households to rent privately with the following schemes:
- Access Scheme – this provides the first month’s rent and the deposit as a grant (meaning you do not need to repay this).
- A Housing Benefit top up payment – the council provides a top up payment, for eligible people, to bridge the gap between Housing Benefit payments and the amount of rent due (because Housing Benefit may not be enough on its own to cover all of the rent). This will depend on the household’s specific circumstances, and would only be payable for up to two years. Visit our Financial support web page for more information on Housing Benefit.
These schemes are administered through Town Hall Lettings and your housing advisor or accommodation finding officer will be able to help access them.
Bills you will be responsible for
All households in the UK are responsible for the following bills:
- Council Tax
- TV Licence
- Some households will also have to pay a service charge for their accommodation
Paying Council Tax
All households have to pay Council Tax.
For any discounts you will need to contact the local Council Tax team and disclose your household details in full. Visit our Council Tax web pages for more information about registering, and support with your bill.
Advice on saving money
There are also several websites that specialise in how to save money, including Money Saving Expert, Go Compare, Money Supermarket, and Compare the Market. These are the most well-known and provide the ability to compare what providers offer and in some cases to help set up accounts.
Accommodation outside of Cambridge city
You can be offered accommodation outside of Cambridge city. The government sets out expectations on what is considered a reasonable commute in relation to the local housing market to allow for offers of accommodation to be made that will give households a settled home.
Given the very high demand and cost for housing in Cambridge, this can mean that more affordable housing is found outside of the city.
An offer will include an explanation of why the offer is suitable and will take into account the household’s specific circumstances.
Commuting distance and schools
You can be offered a property within a ‘reasonable commuting distance’. This is currently up to 90 minutes depending on the mode of transport.
This distance is set by the average journey length for those commuting to Cambridge regularly for a variety of reasons including affordability, work and social reasons.
The government relaxed some criteria for Ukrainian households, including schools, to allow for housing assistance to be provided to the increased demand from Ukrainians.
This means that any offer will ensure that the accommodation meets the needs of the household but that it is considered reasonable to commute to Cambridge and for schools to be changed if required.
Declining the offer of accommodation
If you decline a final offer of accommodation, the council’s duty to assist you may come to an end, and if you are in temporary accommodation you may be required to leave within seven days.
The council would not provide any accommodation beyond this and would have no responsibility to accommodate the household.
Further assistance would have to be arranged by the household themselves and any future application could be affected by the refusal of an offer.
Support from Cambridge city
If you move out of the area, support from Cambridge city will depend on your individual household. However, if the household has moved to private rented accommodation, they will continue to receive support based on any schemes they have used, such as the Access Scheme (the first month’s rent and deposit) or the Housing Benefit top up payment (a financial contribution towards the rent for up to two years).
Council Tax is specific to a local authority and Cambridge City Council cannot become involved with any discounts for another authority’s area.
The household would have to contact the new authority themselves. Find out more about Council Tax at South Cambridgeshire District Council, East Cambridgeshire District Council and Huntingdonshire District Council.
Help with household items when moving
The council will ensure, where deemed appropriate, that a household moving on from a host based in Cambridge city under the Homes for Ukraine Scheme has the following items:
- Washing machine
- A bed for each household member
- A comfy chair for each household member
- Window coverings
No other items will be supplied, including flooring. The council will not replace existing items which are already in the home with new ones. Our nominated supplier who provides any items from the list above that are not already in the home cannot provide alternatives.
An additional referral will be made to local charities who can assist with other items required for the household. Cambridge Refugee Resettlement Campaign have agreed to try and source other items, not listed above, where needed.
Why families in similar situations get different offers
Each case is unique and so there will be different outcomes even when they appear similar. The housing advisor is considering all factors and future outcomes for a household and this means that what is suitable for one household is not necessarily suitable for another.
Housing stock in Cambridge is also very low with a very high demand on social and private tenancies. This can affect what is available at any given time.