Ukraine: information for guests

Health, money, school places and other support.

Welcome to Suffolk graphic in Ukraine colours

Якщо ви - український біженець у Саффолк і вам потрібна інформація на українській мові, просимо зателефонувати за номером 0345 606 6067.

Welcome to Suffolk - we hope you will soon feel at home here. 

We have put together some information to help you find support as you settle in. There is some general information from the Government here:

Week One: A Guide for Ukrainians arriving in the UK | GOV.UK

Or you may find it helpful to click the following dropdown menus to find information on a specific topic.

£200 arrival one off payment

As a Ukrainian refugee, you are entitled to a one off payment of £200 upon arrival. To claim this, either you or your host should email once you are at their accommodation, and use the title ‘Refugee £200 payment’ in the subject line. You will need to provide your name and either a contact email or mobile phone number, the address where you are living and your date of arrival. If you have children, please provide their names but your email address or phone number.

You will receive one e-voucher per person (for example, if you have two children, you will receive three e-vouchers. The vouchers all look the same, so you need to open all three text messages or emails in order to access all three E-vouchers). The e-voucher link can be opened directly from the text or email; there is no need to download the Wonde app, but if you have any difficulty opening the e-vouchers, please email us at

The e-vouchers can be cashed at Post Offices, and you can choose to cash all three at the same time, or separately on different dates. Please note that it can take up to 3 working days for the Post Office computer system to be able to recognise and redeem the voucher number and provide the cash payment. This means, for instance, this means that any e-vouchers we request on a Friday are not live on the Post Office system before the following Tuesday.

Universal Credit / Pension Credit

It is important that you make a claim for Universal Credit or Pension Credit (depending on your age) as soon as you arrive in the UK. This monthly payment will help with your living costs.

If you are claiming as a couple and only one partner is over pension age, you should both claim Universal Credit. The partner who is above pension age will be moved into the 'No Work Related Requirements' group. When both partners are over pension age, you can claim Pension Credit.

The easiest way to make a new Universal Credit application is online with GOV.UK. You can also call 0800 328 5644 for advice. 

Other Financial support

You may also be eligible for other financial support including Housing Benefit, Personal Independence Payment, Child Disability Living Allowance, Carers Allowance and/or Attendance Allowance, depending on your situation. Visit the Government website to find out what you are entitled to.

Opening a UK bank account

To receive Universal Credit and other benefits, you will need to open a bank account. You can do this by visiting any bank.

The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has published information on how to do this in both English and Ukrainian: how to open a bank account . You do not need to be in Scotland to bank with them.

Whichever bank you choose, when you go to open your bank account you will need to take the documents that show your identity, immigration status and address.

National Debtline

The National Debtline offers free, confidential and independent advice about debt and money problems. Telephone 0808 808 4000 or visit the National Debtline website.

Citizens Advice

You can get advice on issues including benefits, employment, immigration, debt and legal advice from your local Citizens Advice centre. They also offer a Help to Claim scheme that can support you to apply for benefits. Visit the Citizens Advice website or call 03444 111 444


How the NHS works

How the NHS Works: Ukrainian version (PDF, 470KB)

How the NHS works: Russian version (PDF 470KB)

How the NHS works: English version (PDF, 581KB)

Using the NHS when moving to England

Find a Doctor

You can receive emergency treatment from a local doctor (called a General Practitioner or GP) for up to 14 days after your arrival without registering. After that, you need to register. Find out how to register with a doctor on the NHS website.

If you are pregnant, a GP can arrange an appointment with a midwife for you.

If you take regular medication, you will need to visit your new GP to get a prescription for this to continue. You should then take this prescription to a pharmacy or chemist to receive the medication. You may need to pay for prescription medicines. Pharmacists can also give free advice on treating minor health problems, such as colds and coughs. Find a pharmacy near you.

You can get free health advice from the NHS by phoning 111 (interpreter service available) or visit the NHS 111 website

Find a Dentist

Ukrainian nationals can register with a dentist as either an NHS patient or a private patient. Find a dentist near you.

If you are receiving Universal Credit, you should let the practice know and register as an NHS patient, then your check-ups and necessary treatments will be free. 

Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health

The UK charity Barnardo's have set up a free Ukrainian Support Helpline, which is staffed by English, Ukrainian and Russian speakers. To get help and advice on a range of topics, call 0800 148 8586, Monday to Friday (10am to 8pm) and Saturday (10am to 3pm).

Psychology Tools has provided free resources about trauma and stress in Ukrainian, Polish and Russian. 

School staff may find these resources to welcome refugee children and families and help them to process the difficulties they have faced, published by our Psychology & Therapeutic Services team, useful.

COVID vaccinations

The COVID-19 vaccine is free to everyone in the UK, including migrants. Information about getting a vaccine if you don't have an NHS number is available on GOV.UK in English and Ukrainian.

Health information in other languages

The NHS has collated a range of health information that is available in different languages, including Ukrainian and Russian. The topics include babies, cancer, heart health and mental health. View health information in other languages.

Living safely with respiratory infections, including COVID-19

As we learn to live safely with coronavirus (COVID-19), there are actions we can all take to help reduce the risk of catching COVID-19 and passing it on to others. View this information in other languages including English, Russian and Ukrainian.

Citizens Advice

You can get advice on issues including benefits, employment, immigration, debt and legal advice from your local Citizens Advice centre. They also offer a Help to Claim scheme that can support you to apply for benefits. Visit the Citizens Advice website or call 03444 111 444.

Migrant Help UK

Migrant Help UK provides advice and support to asylum seekers, refugees and victims of modern slavery and trafficking. Telephone: 0808 801 0503, email or visit the Migrant Help UK website.

Modern Slavery & Exploitation Helpline

This helpline provides information and remediation support to people who have suffered labour exploitation and labour abuse. Telephone: 08000 121700.

Refugee Council

The Refugee Council provides support and advice to refugees and asylum seekers. Telephone: 0207 346 6700 or visit the Refugee Council website 

Suffolk Refugee Support

Suffolk Refugee Support provide help for refugees and asylum seekers, including free advice sessions and dedicated activities. Telephone: 01473 400785 or visit the Suffolk Refugee Support website.  

Ukrainian Embassy 

Embassy of Ukraine to the United Kingdom

You can apply for a school place for your child as soon as you arrive. Starting school can help children settle in and make friends. You can apply yourself, or ask your host to help you. You can apply for your child to start in the new school year in September or in the middle of the school year by using the links below.

Applications for school places for refugee pupils should be made to the School Admissions Team for community and voluntary controlled schools, or to academies and voluntary aided schools directly.

Applying for a secondary school place for September 2022/2023

Find information on how to apply for a secondary school place

Applying for a primary school place from September 2022/2023

Find information on how to apply for a primary school place.

Home to school transport

Some children are eligible for free home to school transport. To find out more and apply, visit the Suffolk on Board website.

The video below gives further guidance on applying for Home to School Transport.

Free school meals

Children in the school years Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 automatically get free school meals. Children in Year 3 or above may be eligible for free school meals. This includes if their parent is receiving Universal Credit.

Find out more information or apply for free school meals.


Ukrainian nationals can get advice and support to find childcare from our Family Information Service. 

Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)

If your child has special educational needs or disabilities (SEND), you can find information about the help available to them in Suffolk at the Suffolk Local Offer website. 

Suffolk SENDIASS also provide advice to parents of children with SEND. You might find their ‘What is SEN’ and ‘How we can help you’ leaflets, translated into different languages including Ukrainian, helpful. 

Information for Guests

After you have been with your host for 4 months you should expect to have a conversation with them about staying with them beyond 6 months. Sponsors originally signed up for 6 months and they are under no obligation to continue to 12 months. Their circumstances may have changed and they may ask you to look for alternative accommodation.

You may not be ready to move to your own accommodation and wish to find a new host on the Homes for Ukraine scheme that will offer you a room in their home. The following guide sets out what you need to do.  If you wish to stay in the same area you could contact local faith groups, community groups or the original charity that helped you, for example Reset, to find out if new hosts are available. If you find a new host check with them that they are registered on the Homes for Ukraine scheme as this will be important if that new host wishes to be paid the £350 thank you payment.

You may wish to look for a host in another part of the UK. Contact one of the Recognised Providers who may help you find a new host in that area. Suffolk County Council will not be able to help you find a new host in an area outside of Suffolk. When you find a new host, please ask them to email so that Suffolk County Council can contact the new council to seek their agreement to the rematch and to ensure the necessary checks are made and the new living arrangements are suitable. 

If you are really struggling to find a new host on the Homes for Ukraine scheme (for example in the local area where you already have children at a local school) then you can contact Suffolk County Council at for help but due to the availability of hosts, the County Council may not be able to meet location and timescale requests.

Moving to rented housing -  a short guide

Renting a property from a private landlord will enable you to leave your Homes for Ukraine host accommodation and get your own living space. If your host cannot continue to have you in their home at some point after the initial 6 months or if you wish to relocate to a different area, you will need to find your own accommodation.

Moving to rented housing (English text version) (PDF, 195KB)

Moving to rented housing (Ukrainian text version) (PDF, 207KB)

Moving to rented housing (Russian text version) (PDF, 206KB)

Things to consider:

1. Are you ready to move into rented housing?

Please consider how much you can afford as you will be responsible for paying:

  • rent to the landlord (sometimes 3 months in advance)
  • a deposit (usually 5 weeks rent) 
  • Council Tax  - check what Council tax band an address is in
  • energy bills (electricity , gas etc)
  • water and sewage
  • TV licence and internet
  • for your own food

2. What to consider when renting your own place

3. Think about location

  • if you have children, do schools need to be within walking distance?
  • do you want to be near a doctor’s surgery?
  • do you want to be near shops?
  • Are you working? How far are you prepared to travel to work?
  • Do you need public transport services to get about?
  • Do you want to stay in the area you are currently or move closer to work or friends?

Be realistic in your expectations – you may not get everything you want so what is the most important?  Always view the property before you sign or agree anything.

4. What you need to know

When you rent you should be given the current version of the GOV.UK renting checklist document by the landlord.

To prove your 'rent to right' status to a landlord or letting agent in England you can use the Government 'Prove your right to rent' online service.

You may be asked to sign an Assured shorthold tenancy agreement. This is a contractual agreement with your landlord. It may be a formal document or on a single piece of paper.

This guidance gives advice on what to expect from a landlord

5. Different types of rental/lodging arrangements

Assured shorthold tenancy – this will give you security of tenure for the time set, not less than 6 months.  It normally sets out rules for eviction, when starts, rental value and deposit. Some properties are furnished and some you have to furnish yourself.

Excluded tenancies or licences -You may have an excluded tenancy or licence if you rent a room in a  landlord’s home and share rooms with them, like a kitchen or bathroom. You will usually have less protection from eviction with this type of agreement.

For more information on a licence Shelter Legal England - What is a licence? - Shelter England

For more advice on lodging  Lodgers - Shelter England

6. Where to look for rooms/properties that might be available

Letting agencies, Estate agents, Right moveZoopla,  newspapers   

If you have a friend that is renting, ask them if the landlord has more rooms available to rent. Personal recommendations from an existing tenant can help secure rooms with a landlord.

7. Typical rental costs in Suffolk -  A rough guide

A room in shared house costs around £400+ per month

A 3 bed house costs £800 -  £1000 a month

Private rental is highly competitive so search regularly and be available for viewing and ready to move.

8. What might you be asked to sign

In most cases (e.g.  Rightmove) you will be asked to sign a tenancy agreement. For advice on the content of this see  Assured shorthold tenancies - Shelter England 

You might be asked for a guarantor if you are on a low income, this needs to be someone who earns above a stipulated amount who will promise to pay the rent if you fall into arrears.

For a shared room you might be asked to sign a licence.

Never pay a deposit before seeing a property.

Do not agree to anything you are offered on Facebook or other social media without seeing the property first.

9. Where to go for help

Suffolk Refugee Support can offer employment and training support, support with access to ESOL classes, assistance with benefits applications, bilingual support, and limited support to hosts on processes and accessing services

Citizens Advice Service (CAB) can help with queries about housing, benefits and debt.

If you need help with meeting the requirements requested by a landlord to rent housing, including the initial deposit, speak to your local District or Borough Council Housing Department. Please go to the District or Borough area you are currently living in.

1. Housing Options | Ipswich Borough Council

2. Homelessness advice and prevention | East Suffolk Council

3. Homelessness Advice | Babergh Mid Suffolk

4. Homelessness Advice | Babergh Mid Suffolk

5. Housing | West Suffolk Council

Please note Suffolk County Council is unable to rematch guests to new hosts at the end of 6 or 12 months.

Ukrainian refugees who come to the UK under the Homes for Ukraine scheme will receive a visa giving you the right to remain for an initial period of three years. You will have the right to work, to receive public funds such as Universal Credit, and access to public services such as schools and health care. 

It’s important that you know your rights and entitlements if you do work. You can find more information about your rights and how to report your concerns in this leaflet.

Workers Rights Leaflet – Ukrainian version

Modern Slavery & Exploitation Helpline

This helpline provides information and remediation support to people who have suffered labour exploitation and labour abuse. Telephone: 08000 121700.

There are a number of places in Suffolk that offer English courses for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL). These include:

You will have an assessment first to see which level of provision would best meet your needs. 

Language Apps and Resources

Please note: external resources, tools and apps may not be accessible to users of assistive technology. Suffolk County Council has not checked and is not responsible for the content of third-party websites and apps.

Ukraine Unlimited 

You may find the Ukraine Unlimited app helpful, which offers a range of free reading, listening and other material for children and adults in both English and Ukrainian. You can download it via the Google Play Store (Ukraine Unlimited Learning – Apps on Google Play) or the Apple App Store (Ukraine Unlimited Learning - Apps on the Apple Store)

English with Ukrainians

English with Ukrainians, set up by teachers from the University of Kharkiv, have made over 20 hours of English lessons available for free on YouTube. Visit the English with Ukrainians channel


Rail operators are providing Ukrainian refugees with a single onward journey via National Rail free of charge on arrival in Great Britain to their final destination. You have 48 hours to make your onward journey. You only need to show a Ukrainian passport and a boarding pass or ticket showing arrival into the country within the last 48 hours. All the information is on the National Rail Enquiries website in both English and Ukrainian.

Connecting Communities is a transport service provided by Suffolk County Council designed to help people travel around the county of Suffolk who might not have access to a regular bus service. 

If you have a Ukrainian driving licence, you can exchange it for a UK licence for a small fee, as Ukraine has an exchange agreement with the UK. Find out how to exchange a foreign driving licence on GOV.UK.


Food banks can provide you with free food and other essential items. Visit Trussell Trust to find a local food bank 

Phones and connectivity

The mobile phone provider Three is offering a package for Ukrainian refugees arriving in the UK with a free, 30 day, pay-as-you-go SIM card, unlimited UK calls and texts and free calls and texts from the UK to Ukraine.

Vodafone offer offering free SIM cards for 6 months. These can only be received via their charity partners - Suffolk Refugee Support are one of these partners.

Virgin Media O2 have removed data charges for data use in Ukraine and will credit charges for calls and texts to and from Ukraine and the UK for their customers. 

Fire Safety in the home 

Fire safety leaflet in Ukrainian (PDF, 3578KB)

Fire safety leaflet in English (GOV.UK)

Anti-Social Behaviour and Hate Crimes

We want everyone to feel safe and at home here in Suffolk. No-one should be made to feel unwelcome or threatened, and so Suffolk Police have translated their "No Hate In Suffolk" leaflet into Ukrainian. Download the No Hate Crime leaflet here.