MORE than £700,000 has been set aside from central government funding to help refugees in Winchester under the Homes for Ukraine Scheme.

In a Winchester City Council cabinet meeting on Wednesday, June 20, councillors confirmed the budget to support the settlement of Ukrainian guests across the Winchester district.

The authority has initially been allocated a £740,000 support package as part of the government scheme, which will be used to provide a specialised support team, to help guests secure longer-term housing, prevent homelessness and work to smoothly integrate them into the community.

Around half the total figure, £392,000, has been allocated to prepare for an increase in homelessness and the possibility of having to use emergency accommodation placements for Ukrainians.

READ MORE: Winchester man fined hundreds for driving off without paying for fuel

A further £120,000 chunk has been set aside to employ three case officers, one being a housing options officer and two ‘Homes for Ukrainian resettlement officers’.

An additional £8,000 will go on recruiting a temporary liaison officer for the newly-launched support hub - which has proved a hit with hosts across the district. While translation and interpretation costs are expected to come in at a combined £49,000.

As of May, Winchester had the highest number of host families in Hampshire and was in the top 10 across the country.

Cllr Paula Ferguson, deputy leader and cabinet member for community and housing, said: “Winchester City Council supports all refugees and we’ve been pleased to welcome refugees from Syria, Afghanistan and now Ukraine, reflecting the compassionate response from the across our community. This week is Refugee Week and the spending plans agreed today will ensure we have the right resources in place to support our Ukrainian guests as they settle into life in our district, secure longer-term housing and become more independent.

"We have already welcomed 273 people and are understanding more each day about the incredibly difficult circumstances they are dealing with."

Message from the editor

Thank you for reading this story. We really appreciate your support.

Please help us to continue bringing you all the trusted news from your area by sharing this story or by following our Facebook page.