A major expansion of support has been announced for Ukrainian refugees settling into Uttlesford.

Uttlesford District Council is already providing support to dozens of individuals and families who have fled the country to live with host families, and is now launching a new phase in this work.

To build on the existing work, the council has access to up to £1.3 million of central government funding.

The money will be used to identify the precise needs of the Ukrainian community, and then to provide solutions - whether through existing schemes or commissioning new services.

Areas likely to be targeted include help with finding housing, support with understanding local services such as health, leisure and education, improving language skills and job hunting.

The council will establish a programme board comprising representatives from both the council and partner organisations, such as charities and faith groups.

A dedicated member of staff will also be employed to work directly with Ukrainian families.

Cllr Petrina Lees, leader of Uttlesford District Council, said: "We are delighted to be able to use this government money to meet the needs of our Ukrainian guests.


"The proportion of the money we will end up spending is of course dependent on what they tell us they need.

"This is the start of a new conversation around areas such as accommodation, how to access health services, language skills, transport requirements, training opportunities, help finding employment and community integration.

"I am incredibly proud of the way this district has welcomed Ukrainian refugees since the start of the war a year ago and we want to build on the support we already offer to provide a long-term future in the district for those who need it.

"We want to ensure people can settle and thrive in this beautiful part of Essex and build a fulfilling new life here."

The council is hosting three events for Ukrainian guests and their host families. This will give an opportunity for the council and other agencies to listen to the views of Ukrainians and the residents who are temporarily providing them with a place to live.

The first is at the Touchpoint Community Hub in Stansted on Thursday, April 6. The second is at the Old School House in Takeley on Thursday, April 13, and the third is at the Mind in West Essex Community Space in High Street, Saffron Walden on Saturday, April 22.

All three events are from 2pm to 3.30pm.

For more information on these sessions email communityresponse@uttlesford.gov.uk or call 01799 510546.

Through the charity Uttlesford Community Action Network, the council is working with a Ukrainian-speaking intermediary who liaises with Ukrainian guests and the council's Housing Options Team - who will provide support on finding accommodation once the host family arrangements come to an end.

Cllr Lees added: "We are committed to providing the best possible support for people who have had to flee thousands of miles across Europe in search of a safe home."

To find out more about support available go to www.uttlesford.gov.uk/support-for-ukraine.