Welcome to East Sussex

Information for our Ukrainian guests

We’re proud to welcome you to our part of the UK and we hope you find a safe refuge here.

People in East Sussex have been horrified by the attack on Ukraine and the suffering it has caused.

Many of them wanted to offer you a place to stay and we will work together as a community to help you settle in here.

More than 1,227 Ukraine refugees are now being hosted in East Sussex. We look forward to welcoming those of you who are due to arrive soon.

We hope this welcome pack gives you information and advice which is useful.


East Sussex

A map of the UK showing East Sussex's location on the south east coast

East Sussex is a beautiful place on the UK’s south coast, around 70km south of London.  

About 550,000 people live here. Our largest towns are on the coast (of the English Channel, which separates us from France). As well as these larger towns - Eastbourne, Bexhill and Hastings - our coastline mixes pebble beaches, a long sandy strip and some famous chalk cliffs.

Inland you’ll find farmland, hills, woods and heaths – as well as smaller towns including Lewes, Hailsham, Uckfield, Crowborough and Battle.

You can reach London by train from many parts of East Sussex in between 75 and 120 minutes.

A small port at Newhaven offers ferry crossings to France. Gatwick airport, one of the main airports serving London, is just outside East Sussex.

Also just outside East Sussex, to the west, is the city of Brighton and Hove.

East Sussex is a county. England is made up of 27 rural counties like East Sussex, plus larger cities like London, Birmingham, Manchester and Brighton.

East Sussex is divided into five districts. These districts (or boroughs) are: Eastbourne, Lewes, Hastings, Rother and Wealden.

Whichever part of East Sussex you stay in, we’re sure you will find a friendly welcome.

A map of East Sussex showing the location of each town

Watch this video for a warm welcome from Ukrainian citizen and East Sussex resident of over 20 years, Krysta Rafalska:




Health care

Registering with a doctor - a general practitioner (GP)

First we recommend you register with a local doctor (known as a GP, which is short for General Practitioner). 

You are entitled to free care and treatment from the National Health Service (NHS) and the GP is your first contact for healthcare. They can discuss your physical and mental health with you and can refer you to hospitals or other kinds of treatment if needed.

Anyone can register with a GP. Some ID may be helpful but you don’t need other documents.

Your hosts may help you find a GP in your area. For a list of GP practices see: Our practices - NHS East Sussex CCG.

For more general information about registering with a GP, please 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.

If you do not speak English you can state your language and the operator will arrange a translator for the call.

Please Note: If you call 999 an operator will ask you “Which service?” You can answer:

  • Ambulance
  • Police 
  • Fire 
  • Coastguard

Emergency departments in East Sussex

  • Conquest Hospital
    The Ridge
    St Leonards-on-Sea, TN37 7RD
    Phone: 0300 131 4500
  • Eastbourne District General Hospital
    Kings Drive
    Eastbourne, BN21 2UD
    Phone: 0300 131 4500

Emergency departments close to East Sussex

  • Royal Sussex County Hospital
    Eastern Road
    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 (ESHT).

For a full list of services and more information visit: Our services – East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust.

Mental health support

Mental health services in East Sussex are run 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.

If you live in East Sussex, you can call Health in Mind, a free NHS service, on 0300 00 30 130, to discuss your feelings and reactions and to consider your next steps.

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 Ukrainian, English, Russian and Polish see: Free Ukrainian, Polish, And Russian Translations Of Trauma And PTSD Psychoeducational Resources - Psychology Tools

The SafeREFUGE campaign provides free resources for refugees and hosts on trauma recovery from humanitarian crisis.
SafeREFUGE – VITA Network (vita-network.com)

Maternity and birth care

Anyone who is pregnant, or becomes pregnant, should let their GP know as soon as possible. The GP, or another expert known as a midwife, will arrange checks and personal care during pregnancy, birth and the weeks after.  

There is also support from a health visitor. A health visitor is a qualified nurse or midwife who has had extra training. They're there to help mothers, their family and children up to the age of five years old to stay healthy.  

Dentistry

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 urgent situations, emergency dental treatment is available in East Sussex but an appointment will only be offered after a telephone assessment to check the case is a priority.

For more on emergency dental services, please see: Emergency Dental Service.

Vaccinations against Covid-19 and other infections

We know some people from Ukraine (and in the UK) have not been vaccinated against Covid-19.

You may like to get a free Covid vaccination or booster while you are in East Sussex.
 
For more on how to book these 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.

You will find reliable information about vaccination and other healthcare issues in several languages on the Doctors of the World website, Translated health information for patients.


Keeping people safe

You and your family have a right to live in safety, free from any kind of abuse and neglect, and to be protected if your safety is at risk. We call this ‘Safeguarding’, and you can report any concerns you have about yourself or any adult or child. 

The document Guidance on Raising Concerns about Abuse and Neglect gives information about signs of abuse and neglect. It explains 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:

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. This service is run by East Sussex County Council.
  • Out of office hours, if you have a serious concern about a child’s welfare that cannot wait until the following working day, phone our Emergency Duty Service on:
    01273 335 906 or 01273 335 905 - from 5pm to 8.30am (after 4.30pm on Fridays) and during the weekends and bank holidays. This out of hours service covers East Sussex and Brighton & Hove.
  • Make a report online at Worried about a child or teenager who might be at risk or in danger?

Exploitation and modern slavery

People seeking sanctuary from the war in Ukraine must be able to move safely without the risk of exploitation. If you are looking for support, the campaign ‘Travel Safe, Stay Safe’ has information in Ukrainian, Russian and English. Ukraine Support and Updates » STOP THE TRAFFIK

The Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority also has a number of useful resources that can be found here: Resources - Videos - Leaflets - Labour exploitation - GLAA


Policing, and reporting war crimes

Sussex Police

Sussex Police is responsible for policing the county of Sussex, including the 5 districts within East Sussex: Eastbourne, Hastings, Lewes, Rother and Wealden.

At the heart of all they do is community policing. The police are there 24 hours a day, seven days a week, protecting our communities, preventing crime and catching criminals. They also work closely with other organisations, including East Sussex County Council, to ensure that together we are keeping you, your families and the wider residents of Sussex safe.

In an emergency, you can contact the police by ringing 999. An emergency is one where a serious incident has happened or is happening, someone is at risk of immediate danger or harm, property is in danger of being damaged or that something has happened which will cause disruption to others in the area, for example a car accident.

If it is not an emergency, you can contact the police in a number of ways:

  • Visit sussex.police.uk where you can report a range of non-emergency crimes including anti-social behaviour, fraud and sexual assault. You can also find advice on a wide range of subjects.
  • Phone 101 which is the police non-emergency telephone number.
  • You can send a private message to the police on social media – search ‘Sussex Police’ on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
  • You can visit your local police station.

War Crimes in Ukraine

In support of the investigation by the International Criminal Court (ICC) into possible war crimes committed in Ukraine since 21 November 2013, the police would like to speak to anyone who may have witnessed or been a victim of any war crimes or crimes against humanity. They are also interested to hear from anyone who may hold evidence of war crimes committed in the Ukraine, such as video footage or images. 

To report war crimes:

Please be aware that any evidence gathered by the police may be shared with the ICC in support of their investigation. However we’ll treat all of the information you provide us in confidence.


Money, banking, benefits and work

The currency in the UK is the pound (£). Each pound is made up of 100 pennies (pence).

Support through Homes for Ukraine

You are entitled to a range of benefits and services in this country.

As a first step, the government will provide every person arriving from Ukraine with a payment of £200 to help cover immediate costs while you settle in. Over 320 payments have already been made.

Guests will receive a text message with a voucher which can be used at any branch of the Post Office to receive the £200 payment.

Or, you can ask for the payment to be sent by cheque which can then be cashed at any branch of Nat West bank (there are many branches in East Sussex). To request this option once you have arrived in East Sussex, please email ukraine@eastsussex.gov.uk

Hosts are entitled to an optional monthly payment of £350 to thank them for their generosity. They will be emailed directly with details of how they can apply for this payment. Due to the current economic crisis, monthly payments to hosts will increase by £150 per month between the months of October 2022 and March 2023. These will be payable to both existing and new hosts and will be payable from 1 November. For more details, see payments to hosts of Ukrainians increased

These payments will be made by the local borough or district council in East Sussex – Eastbourne Borough Council, Lewes District Council, Hastings Borough Council, Rother District Council or Wealden District Council.

Hosts will be contacted directly by the local district or borough council as soon as possible to let them know how to apply.

For more information and support services for people from Ukraine in the UK, visit The British Red Cross: Help for Ukrainian nationals in the UK - redcross.org.uk

The Department for Work and Pensions has provided an extensive guide on the support available for Ukrainians guests arriving in the UK, including information and guidance on National Insurance, Universal Credit, Child Disability Allowance, your rights at work, how to find a job, and CV and interview tips. See Guidance in Ukrainian, for people from Ukraine living in the UK.

Banking

Opening a bank account in the UK will make it easier for you to get support or to receive wages from work 

Some banks may now allow you to open an account with just your UK visa. (Usually banks ask for more details, including proof of address).

Your hosts may be able to help you as you decide which bank to set up an account with.

There are many possible banks here but some with arrangements for Ukrainian refugees include:

Claiming benefits (support)

The UK’s welfare system aims to help people with little money, or who have extra needs. You can claim benefits immediately if you have arrived through the Homes for Ukraine scheme.

If you go to a Job Centre Plus (JCP) in East Sussex, you can find out more about the benefits you can claim. Job Centre Plus is a government office which gives advice on benefits and work.

You will find a Job Centre Plus in Bexhill, Eastbourne, Hastings, Lewes and Newhaven.

To find your nearest, see: Jobcentre Plus Local Office Search

Benefits might 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 Credits 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.

For more on the types of benefits available, see:

Before applying for Universal Credit, you can talk by phone or online with advisers from the free Help to Claim service at Citizens Advice. They can arrange a translator if you need one:

You can make a claim for Universal Credit by:

After you make your claim for Universal Credit you will need to have a face-to-face appointment in order to provide your identity details.

Some of our Jobcentres open 6 days a week, Monday to Saturday so you could be asked to attend on any of those days.  There are telephone interpreting services available at all Jobcentres.

Once we’ve confirmed your identity, you can claim an advance payment of Universal Credit to help you if you do not have enough money for food and other essentials until your first payment. An advance payment will need to be paid back over a period of up to 24 months.

After your ID has been verified, you will need to attend another meeting at the Jobcentre to talk about your commitments and plans to move into work. This will be with a Work Coach who will ask you about your circumstances, your work goals, your employment history and let you know what help we can offer you. We know that some people may not be able to consider working straight away so we will also look at what other support you may need.

Your Work Coach will stay in regular contact with you and for Universal Credit to be paid, you will need to attend appointments when required. If you cannot attend an appointment, please let us know as soon as possible.

Benefits advice is also available in East Sussex at the Hastings Advice and Representation Centre:

Any benefits that your host (sponsor) already gets will not be affected by your claim.

Finding a job and paying tax

Work

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 work and training. 

All public organisations in East Sussex advertise latest job opportunities:

At the Job Centre Plus office you can ask for a work coach to help you find and apply for local jobs.

You can also 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.

For more information on education and training opportunities for Ukrainians in East Sussex, you can now visit the East Sussex College Ukraine Support website here: ESC Ukraine Support

Support into Work programme

Support into Work is a project now available to assist Ukrainian guests in East Sussex to help them into employment. The project will be run by three partners and each organisation will work in locations across the county to offer the same level of support to all guests.

The Support into Work project will include:

  • An assessment to understand your employability needs.
  • One-to-one and group training in areas such as benefit calculations, working in the UK, job search support, mock interviews and more.
  • Signposting to other relevant support such as English lessons as well as qualification transference from Ukraine to the UK where possible.
  • Working with employers to help them realise the benefits of hiring Ukrainian guests and make issues around referencing easier.
  • Funding some childcare for parents to access this support and funding clothing for job interviews where needed.
  • Working with the local housing authorities and services to assist those on the project to be suitably housed.  

To access this support please email supportintowork@sussexcommunity.org.uk with your name and contact details. You can find out more here: Refugees - careers East Sussex.

National Insurance

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.

Paying tax

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


Getting your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP)

A BRP is a card with your immigration status on it. You can use it to prove your right to study, work and claim any benefits you are eligible for.

The entry stamp you received on entry into the UK provides evidence of your right to stay in the UK but is valid for the first 6 months only. To extend your stay for up to the 3 years allowed under the Homes for Ukraine scheme, you will need to apply for a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP).

This will require you to provide biometric information, including a photograph of your face and a sample of your fingerprints.

If you do not do this, you will lose the right to live and work in the UK and any benefit payments you are receiving will stop.

To apply for your BRP,  fill in the online form to start the process of providing your biometric information.


Transport

Buses

When you arrive in East Sussex you will be entitled to 4 weeks’ free travel on many local buses.

To get a free travel pass for Stagecoach buses, please contact us on ukraine@eastsussex.gov.uk and we will send it to you.

To get a free travel pass for Brighton & Hove buses please take your passport and visa to one of their offices:

Trains

You can see details of all train services in the UK on the National Rail site:

There are direct trains to London from many stations in East Sussex and regular trains between towns along our coast.


Education and children’s services

Schools

Children aged 5 to 16 must be in full-time education.

Schools are divided into primary schools (for children aged 4 to 11) and secondary schools (for children aged 11 to 16).

For more help, please email Admissions.

You can find a list of schools in East Sussex at Find local schools.

Your hosts may also be able to tell you about local schools.

More than 410 Ukrainian children have already been allocated school places. If you have school age children, you can apply for a school place:

Childcare and Early Years

Before children start school, you can get help towards their childcare. This could include:

  • 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:

You can find registered childcare providers in East Sussex at Finding childcare.

Further education

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.

Other colleges include:

There are many other post 16 providers in East Sussex, all of which can be found on Careers East Sussex. 

Your hosts may also be able to tell you about local colleges.

English language support

A range of English language support is available for Ukrainians in East Sussex. Some helpful courses, resources and discussion groups on English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) are listed below.

Level 1 - No English/basic English

  • Pre-entry ESOL programme – 11 week courses through East Sussex College Group (ESCG) in Hastings and Eastbourne.
  • East Sussex Libraries - Learning East Sussex County Council libraries offer free Functional Skills English to level 2, fully accredited. These are held in Eastbourne and Hastings libraries but also via online learning.
  • Informal conversational classes/cultural awareness input –refugee buddy group and local community groups including Sanctuary café, Black Butterfly, refugee buddy project, groundworks, HVA, RVA, 3VA.

District and borough councils:

Language apps:

Level 2 - Some English but requires more to be work-ready/ESOL

  • East Sussex College Group (ESCG) ESOL Accredited courses from September: register your interest for these courses.
  • Sanctuary Cafe, Fridays between 10am and 12 noon at All Souls Church Hall, Wellesley Road, Eastbourne.
  • Ukrainian Café Hub, Robertson Street, Hastings offer conversational English groups Tuesday afternoon 1pm to 4pm.
  • Education Training Consortium Sussex - etc Sussex based in Hastings and St Leonards-on-Sea. Currently offering Beginner-Elementary and Pre-Intermediate English lessons as well as IT lessons. Currently offering 8 classes per week.
  • Black Butterfly based in Hastings and St Leonards-on-Sea are providing informal conversational classes with co-developed project spaces including gardening, cookery, and craft among others.
  • Refugee Buddy Project based in Hastings and Rother. Provide informal English conversation, 1 hour per week, for people who sign up with a buddy. Informal English conversation workshops available on understanding bills, council tax, housing, driving theory.
  • Diversity Resource International based in Lewes. Offering structured classes, internet-based learning, buddying, mentoring and peer support, and informal learning.
  • The Links Project Drop-In, Wednesdays 11am to 3pm at Central Hall, 6B Station Road, Hastings.

Level 3 - Good English/post ESOL/employability support

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 groups across East Sussex. Many are already providing support for Ukrainian refugees.

Each Voluntary Action organisation can assist guests and hosts by linking you to the local support that exists through Homes for Ukraine Community Hubs and the local networks.

The VA's also work alongside the groups and organisations in a local area, and with the local councils to ensure that guest and host concerns are heard and shape the support available. You can contact them here:

There are also many local groups where Ukrainians meet and support each other. These include:


Housing support and options

We are working in partnership with hosts as we support them in their generous commitment to accommodate Ukrainian guests in East Sussex.  We are also committed to welcoming Ukrainian guests to the UK and ensuring that their housing options are made clear.

This guidance explains what options and support are available to hosts and guests.

We strongly encourage hosts and guests to discuss expectations as early as you can, and within the first 4 months of guests’ arrival.  This should include talking about what hosts can offer and for how long, what guests’ future intentions are, and how you will plan next steps. 

Hosts have committed to provide accommodation to their guests for a minimum of 6 months, but many will be able to continue to accommodate their guests for longer.  Whatever you decide to do at the 6-month point, please inform us at least 2 months before you think your situation may change.  You can do that by contacting us at ukraine@eastsussex.gov.uk.

The options for hosts and guests after six months are:

  • Continuing sponsorship
  • Finding a new host
  • Finding privately rented accommodation
  • Contacting your local council for housing advise

Continuing sponsorship

Many hosts may be able to continue their sponsorship arrangement beyond six months.  We are asking hosts to continue hosting their guests for as long as they can, as many Ukrainians will not be ready to move on after 6 months and the severe housing shortage in East Sussex and across the UK means that moving on is not easy.

Monthly ‘thank you’ payments to hosts are available for 12 months and these will continue automatically if you continue to host, for up to 12 months. 

We understand that not everyone can continue to host after 6 months. Where that is the case, we encourage you to work with your host to develop a plan for how you will move on and a realistic timescale for this wherever possible.  If you need help, we may be able to signpost or refer you to services who can advise you, please contact us on ukraine@eastsussex.gov.uk

Finding a new host

If hosts can no longer accommodate their guests, it may be possible to find a new host.

It may be possible to find a new host through someone that you already know, or through local groups within the community.  Some local organisations may be able to help find a new host.  If you are not sure who can help, you can contact us on ukraine@eastsussex.gov.uk.

Advice on finding a new host has been published by the Government - Homes for Ukraine: support for sponsors - GOV.UK

They have also published a list of organisations who can help guests find a new host: Organisations who can help guests from Ukraine find sponsors in the UK - GOV.UK.  

It is important to contact them as soon as possible, to give the best chance of finding a suitable new host.

If guests do find a new host it is important to let us know as soon as possible and before any move takes place, so we can arrange the necessary host checks and monthly thank you payments.  We can only fully support new arrangements once these checks are completed.   

Finding privately rented accommodation

If it is not an option to find a new host, guests can look for privately rented accommodation.

This helpful guide will help you understand how to rent in England. This will help guests when they are ready and able to move out of sponsorship into independent accommodation. This guide is available in Ukrainian and Russian.

Rents in East Sussex are high, compared to average incomes, which means many people find it difficult to find accommodation in this area that they can afford. It may be worth considering other areas of the UK which may have more affordable options. 

You can research the average costs of renting in the UK, to help understand what is available and affordable in your situation. There is also information available: rights and responsibilities as a tenant and welfare benefit entitlements (on Entitled To).

The Local Housing Allowance (LHA) is the maximum level of benefit that guests may receive in Universal Credit if they require welfare benefits to help with rent. Guests can check the LHA for the area they are looking to move to. LHA rates are generally a lot lower than market rents, which means guests are likely to have a shortfall and will need to make up the difference themselves between LHA and the rent being charged, so they will need to be certain they can afford to move into independent accommodation.

Information on renting in ScotlandWales and Northern Ireland is also available.

Financial help with a deposit and rent in advance to access privately rented accommodation, is available through your local housing office, when guests have found a property and are ready to secure the tenancy. Access to help with rent deposits is dependent on the Council being certain that the guest can afford the property.

Contacting your local council for housing advice

Your district or borough council provides housing advice, and assistance to households at risk of homelessness.  To contact your local housing authority for housing advice or homelessness support please follow the below link:

Your local housing office | East Sussex County Council

It is important to remember that both privately rented accommodation and social housing is in short supply in East Sussex. Local households can wait for many years for social housing in East Sussex.  Households approaching councils as homeless, can live in emergency accommodation for a long time, often outside of East Sussex, before a settled housing solution is found. These households will often only be made one offer of privately rented housing.


Local government

Local authorities (councils) in East Sussex are divided into three tiers:

1. East Sussex County Council

Provides services including highways and transport, adult social care, children’s services, libraries, and economic development.

2. Five borough and district councils

Map showing districts and boroughs in East Sussex
A map of East Sussex showing where each district is

Provide services including housing, rubbish 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.


Libraries

You’ll find a free public library in all larger towns. For a full list, with opening times, see Find a library near me in East Sussex.

You can reserve a computer to use at a library or reserve a quiet space to study.

They also offer adult courses to improve English, maths or computer skills.

It’s free to become a member of the library and borrow books, films, music or other items

The online library lets you read books, newspapers, magazines and other material online.

East Sussex libraries also have eBooks in Ukrainian which are free to borrow. Find out more: Community Languages - Ukrainian Content

Full details about the library service: East Sussex Libraries.


Local media

Online

BBC News Sussex is the BBC website for Sussex news (including East Sussex)

Television

There are 2 regional television news services.

BBC South East is on the BBC One channel and covers East Sussex and its neighbours. It has local news updates every day at 13.30, 18.30 and 22.30.

ITV Meridian is on the ITV One channel and covers East Sussex as part of its South East news service.

Radio

The main radio station for local news is BBC Sussex. Find it online Radio Sussex - Listen Live - BBC Sounds or on 104.5 FM.

Local newspapers/news websites

Printed newspapers include the Eastbourne Herald, Hastings Observer and Sussex Express. The Brighton Argus also covers some East Sussex news.

Sussex World mixes stories from these and other newspapers online and there are other independent news websites.


Sports and leisure

Each district or borough in East Sussex has leisure centres with a range of swimming pools, gyms and sports facilities.

Eastbourne

Hastings

Lewes

Freedom Leisure Centres in East Sussex are currently offering Ukrainian guests 3 months free access to their facilities, including use of the swimming pool, gym and fitness classes. Find out more and sign up here: Freedom Leisure - Support for Ukraine 

Rother

Wealden

There are also many privately-owned gyms and health centres which sell memberships


Religion

Orthodox 

Orthodox churches in East Sussex include:

Roman Catholic

Anglican (Church of England - Protestant)

  • The established Christian church in England. Almost every community has a church. East Sussex is part of the Diocese of Chichester

Islam

Mosques in East Sussex include:

Jewish

There are synagogues in Brighton and Hove:


Next steps

We will update this guide with news and fresh information.


Welcome again

Most of all, we hope you will feel welcome and safe here. We will be happy if you come to think of East Sussex as your second home.