Welcoming Ukrainian guests to East Sussex
An information pack for hosts
Thank you very much for offering to share your home with refugees from the war in Ukraine. Your kindness and generosity will help people find a safe, welcoming refuge when they most need one.
We can promise that all of us who provide public services in East Sussex are doing everything possible to support you and your guests. We’re also working with voluntary groups. Together we can ensure our county offers both practical help and a warm welcome to Ukrainians when they need them most.
The aim of this guide is to share information and advice that you and your guests may find useful.
Registering with a doctor - a general practitioner (GP)
One of the first things we’d strongly recommend is that you help your guests register with a local GP. Ukrainian arrivals are entitled to full NHS care and treatment and do not need proof of address, immigration status or an NHS number to register with a GP. (They may be asked to provide ID but it’s not a requirement.)
The GP is likely to be their first point of contact for many physical and mental health concerns and can refer people for more specialised hospital services when needed.
There are 54 GP practices in East Sussex. For the full list see Our practices - NHS East Sussex CCG
For more information about registering with a GP see How to register with a GP surgery.
Emergency and urgent treatment
If you or someone you care for are feeling unwell, please phone 111 first. You’ll get advice on where to go for treatment and you might be directed to an emergency department or urgent treatment centre.
Phone 999 if you, or anyone you live with has symptoms of a serious illness or injury such as a heart attack, severe pain, stroke or severe bleeding.
Emergency departments in East Sussex
- Conquest Hospital
St Leonards-on-Sea, TN37 7RD
Phone: 0300 131 4500
- Eastbourne District General Hospital
Eastbourne, BN21 2UD
Phone: 0300 131 4500
Emergency departments close to East Sussex
- Royal Sussex County Hospital
Brighton, BN2 5BE
Phone: 01273 696955
- Tunbridge Wells Hospital
Tonbridge Road, Pembury, TN2 4QJ
Phone: 01892 823535
Minor injury units in East Sussex
For treatment of less severe injuries or illnesses.
- Crowborough War Memorial Hospital
Southview Road, Crowborough, TN6 1HB
Phone: 01892 652284
- Lewes Victoria Hospital
Nevill Rd, Lewes, BN7 1PE
Phone: 01273 474153
- Uckfield Community Hospital
Framfield Road, Uckfield, TN22 5AW
Phone: 01825 769999
The hospital and community health services in East Sussex are provided by East Sussex Healthcare Trust.
Please see their website for a full list of services and more information:
Our services – East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust.
Mental health support
Mental health services in East Sussex are provided by the Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (SPFT).
They have produced a guide on emotional support for refugees:
Emotional support for refugees - Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
We know that the traumatic events of war may have a deep and lasting effect on refugees, including children.
Anyone who lives in East Sussex, you can call this number to discuss their feelings and reactions and to consider next steps. 0300 00 30 130
You can also talk to your GP about mental health issues. If you prefer not to, there are free telephone services where you can speak to a trained advisor:
- Lifeline: 0808 808 8000 - (Textphone: 18001 0808 808 8000)
- Samaritans: 08457 90 90 90 - to talk to a trained volunteer
For more information on managing trauma, published in English, Ukrainian, Russian and Polish, see Free Ukrainian, Polish, And Russian Translations Of Trauma And PTSD Psychoeducational Resources - Psychology Tools
Maternity and birth care
Arrivals who are pregnant, or become pregnant, should let their GP know as soon as possible. The GP, or midwives, will arrange pre-birth checks and personalised care throughout pregnancy, childbirth and the postnatal period.
They are also entitled to support from a health visitor. A health visitor is a qualified nurse or midwife who has had extra training to help mothers, their family and children up to the age of 5 years to stay healthy.
Dental treatment is available on both an NHS and private basis. Not all dentists accept NHS patients.
The NHS website offers a Find a Dentist search.
In the most urgent situations, emergency dental treatment is available in East Sussex but an appointment will only be offered after a telephone assessment to verify the case is a priority.
For more on emergency dental services, please see Emergency Dental Service.
Vaccinations against Covid-19 and other infections
The UK government suggests that only about one in 3 Ukrainian citizens have been vaccinated against Covid-19 and very few have had boosters. The most commonly used vaccine in Ukraine is Coronavac, which is acceptable, but not available, in this country.
Your guests may like to take up free Covid vaccinations in East Sussex once registered with a GP.
For more on ways to book vaccinations and boosters locally, please see COVID-19 vaccinations.
Other NHS vaccinations are also free to everyone and give the best protection to children and adults against infectious diseases such as meningitis, mumps, measles, and rubella. GPs can help arrange vaccinations.
Translated, trusted information about vaccination and other healthcare issues can be found on the Doctors of the World website, Translated health information for patients.
Keeping people safe
Safeguarding is everyone’s business. It is important that we are watchful and alert to any signs of abuse, neglect or exploitation.
To help you know what action to take if you are worried about an adult or child during their stay with you, please see the guidance under the Homes for Ukraine 2022 section of this site.
The document Guidance on Raising Concerns about Abuse and Neglect contains information on signs and indicators of abuse and neglect and what should be reported as a safeguarding concern.
Safety of adults
If you have a concern about an adult at risk of abuse, neglect or exploitation, you should:
- in an emergency call 999
- phone: Health and Social Care Connect on 0345 60 80 191
- email: HSCC
- make a report online at Report a concern about an adult
Safety of children and teenagers
If you are worried about a child or teenager who might be at risk of harm, you should:
- in an emergency call 999
- phone: Single Point of Advice (SPOA) on 01323 464 222
(Monday to Thursday 8.30am to 5pm, Friday 8.30am to 4.30pm.)
- email: SPOA
- make a report online at Worried about a child or teenager who might be at risk or in danger?
Money, banking, benefits and work
Support through Homes for Ukraine
Guests arriving through the Homes for Ukraine scheme are entitled to a range of benefits and services.
As a first step, the government will provide each arrival from Ukraine with a £200 grant to help cover any immediate costs while they settle in.
To receive this payment, your guests are asked to contact their local voluntary association who will arrange a cash payment.
In Eastbourne, Lewes or Wealden, contact: 01323 639373
In Hastings, contact: 01424 444010
In Rother, contact: 01424 217259 or 07871 603235
Hosts will also be to request an optional monthly payment of £350 to thank you for your generosity. Details of how the payment will be made are still being finalised: updates soon.
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 normally need proof of permanent address.
The government is working with major banks to find a solution to enable guests to open accounts without the usual permanent address requirement.
Some banks with arrangements for Ukrainian refugees include:
Access to benefits
The UK’s welfare system is designed to help those who face financial hardship or who have specific needs. The government has ensured that arrivals from Ukraine can claim benefits immediately.
Your local Job Centre Plus (JCP) will be able to help you find out which benefits you may be able to access. In East Sussex, there are branches in Bexhill, Eastbourne, Hastings, Lewes and Newhaven.
To find your nearest JCP visit: Jobcentre Plus Local Office Search.
Benefits 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
- Pension Credit - extra money to help with your living costs if you are over the age of 66 and on a low income. You can apply for Pension Credit online or by 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
To help new arrivals with applications, translation services are available for those making claims by phone. Work coaches and DWP staff at JCPs across the country are on hand to support people making claims online.
As the host (sponsor) of a Ukrainian individual or family, any benefits your household is entitled to will not be affected.
To find out more on the types of benefits available visit Browse: Benefits.
Benefits advice is also available in East Sussex at the Hastings Advice and Representation Centre:
- phone: 0333 344 0681
- email: email@example.com
Before applying for Universal Credit, you can chat by phone or online with advisers from the free Help to Claim service at Citizens Advice.
You can make a claim for Universal Credit by:
- phone: 0800 328 5644
- textphone: 0800 328 1344
- online: Universal Credit: How to claim
Finding a job and paying tax
We know that many Ukrainians will want to work. They have the right to work as soon as they arrive in the UK. You need to be 18-years-old to work full time.
There are many ways to look for a job:
In East Sussex, the ESTAR service helps refugees and people in temporary accommodation into employment.
All public organisations in East Sussex advertise latest job opportunities:
- Jobs at East Sussex County Council
- East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust: Vacancies
- NHS Jobs - Search Results
- Lewes and Eastbourne Councils - current vacancies
- Hastings Online - current vacancies
- Rother District Council - current vacancies
- Wealden District Council - current vacancies
An individual work coach assigned through the local Job Centre Plus office can help you find and apply for local employment opportunities.
You can search and apply for work through the government's Find a Job site.
And many commercial sites list jobs which can be searched by area, including:
Employers must check that a person is eligible to work in the UK before employing them. Arrivals can use their Biometric Residence Permit as evidence of immigration status in the UK, including the right to work.
Advice about employment rights, including the minimum wage, is available from Citizens Advice.
A National Insurance (NI) number is used to make sure a worker’s National Insurance contributions and tax are recorded against their name only. For more information see: Apply for a National Insurance number.
Earnings from employment are taxed at different rates depending on the amount earned and the type of employment.
An employer will often automatically deduct your income tax from your monthly salary using the PAYE system. Self-employed workers are expected to calculate and pay their own tax.
To check what form of tax is right for your employment see Check employment status for tax.
Education and children’s services
Children aged 5 to 16 are required to be in full-time education.
Children from the age of 4 can be enrolled in a local primary school which usually teaches children from the ages of 4 to 11. Children 11 and older can join a local secondary school which, in East Sussex, teach children from the ages of 11 to 16.
Ukrainian families with school-age children can apply for school places online at Apply for a place during the school year.
They can get more help and advice from their local school by emailing Admissions.
You can find a list of schools in East Sussex at Find local schools.
Childcare and Early Years
You can get help towards childcare depending on your circumstances, including:
- free childcare places for children aged 3 and 4
- extra free childcare if you are working and your child is aged 3 and 4
- free childcare if your child is aged 2 and you are on a very low income
You may also be able to get money off your childcare bills if you are working or are on Universal Credit.
For more information see Get childcare: step by step.
You can find registered childcare providers in East Sussex online at Finding childcare.
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.
Ukrainian teenagers who have arrived in East Sussex on the Homes for Ukraine or Ukraine Family Schemes are eligible for further education or for apprenticeships that combine earning and learning.
For more advice and information about post-16 education in East Sussex see What options do I have at 16?.
East Sussex College has campuses in Eastbourne, Hastings, Lewes and Newhaven and offers a broad range of courses. Find out more at East Sussex College.
More support for children and families
For more information about support for children with special educational needs or disability, please see East Sussex County Council Local Offer.
For more information about support for families in East Sussex, please see: Children and families.
Social care for adults
Anyone aged 18 or over may receive help if they have care needs due to physical disability, mental impairment or illness which make them eligible for support.
Anyone can request an assessment of their social care needs at any time, or request advice and guidance, by contacting Health and Social Care Connect.
You can assess yourself online if you (or someone you care for) is eligible for help at Assess yourself.
For more information about Adult Social Care and Health in East Sussex see Contact Adult Social Care and Health.
You can contact us by
- Email: HSCC
- Phone: 0345 60 80 191
(8am to 8pm, 7 days a week (including bank holidays). Calls are charged at a local rate).
Community and voluntary groups in East Sussex
We’re lucky to have a rich network of voluntary and community organisations across the county. Many of them are already active in providing support for Ukrainian refugees.
For an overview of voluntary and community organisations in East Sussex see:
Local authorities in East Sussex are divided into three tiers:
Provides services including highways and transport, adult social care, children’s services, libraries, and economic development.
2. Borough and district councils
- Eastbourne Borough Council
- Hastings Borough Council
- Lewes District Council
- Rother District Council
- Wealden District Council
Provide services including housing, domestic waste collection, parks and leisure, council tax collection and planning applications.
3. Parish and town councils
There are over 90 parish or town councils across East Sussex. To find out more see Parish councils contact details.
Provide services including looking after community buildings, open space, allotments, play areas, street lighting, bus shelters and some car parks.
Supporting and living with refugees
Offering to share your home is kind and generous but you probably already know this won’t be easy.
Some things to bear in mind which might help are:
- Think about what a refugee might need rather than what you can offer. It’s important they feel supported but also that they make decisions for themselves.
- Be gentle, patient and informed. Many people will be traumatised or nervous. They may not want to talk about what they’ve been through, and even if they do you might find it hard to hear.
- Many will speak little or no English and you might have to rely on translation tools like Google Translate or Microsoft Translator
- Your help in introducing them to local services (such as registering with a GP) and to community support and activity will be valuable.
- Think twice about taking pictures or posting on social media about your hosting experience. Would that really help your guests or you?
There are organisations who work regularly with refugees and offer advice and ideas to help you adapt. For more, see:
Hosts of Ukrainian refugees in East Sussex can call our telephone advice line with further questions.
Phone: 01323 724748 10am to 4pm, Monday to Friday.
The government has produced a welcome guide for Ukrainian arrivals coming to the UK.
We’re sorry, but we do not have any information on the visa status of Ukrainian arrivals. All visa applications are handled by the Home Office and we do not know when visas are granted.
We’ll keep this page updated with developments.
We have also published a guide for our Ukrainian guests, available in Ukrainian and English:
Thank you, once again
Thank you for your response to the crisis in Ukraine - your kindness in supporting people in need is much appreciated. We hope the partnership of hosts, public services and volunteers and our Ukrainian guests will make them feel welcomed and help them establish a second home in East Sussex.