Support for Ukrainian Refugees (Updated 1 August)


Under the auspices of the Shrivenham Parish Council (PC) a Team of Volunteers has been set up to help our Community provide support for Ukraine Refugees. The Shrivenham Refugee Support Team (SRST) includes PC members, St Andrews Church and volunteers from the community.


The SRST has been extended into a Shrivenham Refugee Support Network (SRSN). It continues to grow; volunteers are welcome.  The aim of this network is to share information and help coordinate our support to the refugee families hosted within our Community. We work closely with Sanctuary Faringdon.


In Faringdon and the surrounding villages/countryside there are over 50 Ukrainian refugees, mainly women and children, making up more than 20 families. Already, around 15 Ukrainian refugee students have started attending Faringdon Community College and primary schools in our communities.


We forecast that the total number of families in our area is likely to exceed 30, including families that are expected to arrive in Uffington, Ashbury, Longcot and Bourton.  We can expect that refugee families will be hosted by local families for at least 6 months, and for some much longer.


We anticipate that support for refugees is likely to be required for some time, until they can safely return to Ukraine. Most of the refugees are women and children.  We expect that many in our local community will wish to do something, however modest, to help. 


Ways to Support Refugees


Cash Donations.  We recommend cash donations.  Donations can be made easily through well-established Organisations/Charities such as the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) which includes 15 Aid Agencies, Red Cross, Rotary International etc.  For those wishing to support refugees in our local area, the White Horse Rotary Faringdon has recently launched an appeal to help support locally hosted refugee families in our communities. Enquiries to Rotarians Gordon Hughes or Bjorn Watson

Cash is quick, hassle-free, easy to transfer and effective.


Essential Items.  We have now closed our local collection points and stopped our Collection/Delivery Plan for essential items.   However, if anyone wishes to make a special delivery to the Swindon Humanitarian Refugee Support Hub for onward transportation they should make direct contact with Phoenix Enterprises, Elgin Industrial Estate, Swindon, SN2 8EJ.  Telephone: 01793 542321


Hosting/Sponsorship of Refugees.  The UK Government has set up a Refugee Scheme to enable organizations/charities and families to host refugees.  Refugees hosted in Shrivenham and surrounding Villages may require some local community support.



Contact Information:


Bjorn Watson, PC Focal Point, E: M: 0797 3373522

Gordon Hughes, Plan Coordinator, E: M: 0778 7821218

Julia Jones, Parish Councillor, Outreach, E:  M: 0744 3924381

Lewie Hilsdon, Hall Manager, Information, M: 07838681344

Rose-Anne O’Hare, Volunteer, E: M: 07792442799

David Watson, Church Warden, E: M:07393050923


Useful Websites

Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC)

Homes for Ukraine - Government Website: Record your Interest

Homes for Ukraine: What do I need to do to host refugees in the UK?

Sanctuary Faringdon - Resources and links for those who live in Faringdon and the surrounding area

Sanctuary Foundation - supporting new arrivals from Ukraine

Sanctuary Faringdon: Frequently asked Questions and Checklists

Reset - Homes for Ukraine

BBC - How can I offer a UK home to Ukrainian Refugees



Top Tips - A Personal Perspective from a Host Family in Shrivenham


If you are thinking of hosting a family from Ukraine, then here are some things to think about:


  1. Be prepared for the visa application.  It is not easy and it is worth getting all the information before you begin.  You will need passport information, maiden names (if married), both parents name (if applying for children), an address in Ukraine.   You will need to upload a picture of their passports so make sure you have that too.
  2. Your home will be inspected by the local council so ensure you have everything as ready as possible before they arrive.  They will check on things like smoke alarms and boiler safety checks, locks on bathrooms, and private bedroom space.
  3. Make sure you have plenty of cutlery, crockery, pots and pans and a place for them to store extra food.
  4. Make sure you have sufficient bedding and towels.
  5. If possible, provide adapters for any electrical items they might bring (phone chargers etc)
  6. If there are children, ensure there are suitable age-appropriate toys and games.
  7. If the family will not have access to a separate cooking area, be prepared to share your space and make them feel comfortable and welcome in doing so.  They may want to cook, clean and help around the home and it is important that they know they can do this without being a burden.
  8. If the family don’t speak much English, make sure you have google translate readily available.  There are language lessons available at the Language School in Watchfield and seek out anyone in the village who can help. 
  9. Be ready to help them with shopping (food or clothing) – either with help just getting to the shop, or with the shop itself.
  10. Be ready to help them with:
    1. Registering for their biometrics appointment (must be done within 6 months)
    2. applying for a bank account (Natwest are helping Ukrainians open an account, but you will need to visit in person)
    3. getting a UK mobile number if they haven’t got one
    4. claiming for Universal credit (they will need a bank account first) and be ready to take them to the job centre in town for appointments
    5. registering with the doctors and dentist
    6. applying for a school place for any children (apply to Oxford County Council)
    7. helping them get a National Insurance Number
    8. claiming for Child Benefit (different to universal credit)
    9. applying for an HC2 form (health care certificate that entails them to free heath care e.g. dental treatment, prescriptions)
  11. Show them around where you live, pointing out relevant information (e.g bus stops, shops, church, places to walk)
  12. Provide information on church services that might be of interest to them.
  13. They may need time to be on their own, or with other Ukrainian families, so ensure that they know they can do this.
  14. Make sure you have good internet.
  15. Be ready for your utility bills to increase and be patient with the ‘thank you’ payment from the Government to arrive.


Although there are many things to consider and help them with once they are with you, and at times it may seem hard, remember the enormity of what you are doing for them far outweighs the additional admin.  You are literally changing their lives.




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