Members of the public and the council are gearing up to help welcome refugees fleeing war torn Ukraine.

This week, the Government announced the Homes for Ukraine scheme, whereby households which accept Ukrainian individuals or families to stay with them in their home or in a separate property can receive £350 a month.

This money will be given on the provision that the individuals and families have to be named, and have to be living rent free in the property for a minimum of six months.

Although figures are not confirmed, Wokingham Borough Council expects many residents to sign up for the scheme.

READ MORE: #ThereWithUkraine: We're launching our Ukraine appeal - how you can help

As a result, the council is preparing by bringing together an emergency taskforce to coordinate the assistance that the borough can provide.

Councillor John Halsall, the leader of Wokingham Borough Council (Conservative, Remenham, Wargrave and Ruscombe) said:  “We are not waiting around for the Government to tell us what to do – we are getting ourselves ready to welcome refugees with open arms and well-planned provision.

“We don’t know details but many hundreds of people may well need a home here and I know Wokingham Borough will rise to that challenge superbly.

“The logistics are difficult because there are health, education, emotional, safety, social and financial needs to consider but the principle is simple: we will support in whatever ways we can.”

The council has so far prepared by:

  • identifying schools, nurseries and pre-schools to find out where child and student refugees can be acommodated
  • liasied with employers to find jobs for refugees, as they will be allowed to work once they have arrived
  • communicating with charities to coordinate support
  • liasied with local health partners to agree a joint approach to meet the needs of refugees

You can sign up to the Homes for Ukraine scheme on the Govenment website.

The Local Democracy Reporting Service asked Sir John Redwood, the Conservative MP for Wokingham whether he would accept Ukrainian refugees into his home or property.

Sir John did not say whether he would rehome a refugee or not, but did say he would help those who need assistance from the Government.

Last year, at least three families fleeing Afghanistan were rehomed in Wokingham Borough after the radical Islamic group the Taliban took over the country in August 2021.

READ MORE: Wokingham leader 'committed' to supporting Afghan refugees

At the time, the Facebook group ‘Gossip Girls in Action – Wokingham for Refugees’ assisted by sending out care packages to charities for distribution to needy individuals and families.

But the council itself was criticised by councillor Maria Gee (Liberal Democrats, Wescott) who argued the council’s response to the Afghan refugee situation was ‘measly’ compared to the numbers taken in by Spelthorne Council, which welcomed 58 Afghan refugees last Summer.