Situation in Ukraine

The situation in Ukraine is deeply concerning and I join Wealden residents in being utterly appalled by the actions of Putin’s regime and horrified by what is unfolding in Europe.

The government remains firmly committed to providing help, a safe place to stay, and support to those who have fled the conflict in Ukraine. We are standing firm with Ukraine in its defence against Russian aggression and the illegal invasion of your country.

Over 110,000 Ukrainian guests are now safe in the United Kingdom. You are part of one of the fastest growing visa programmes in history.

We know that adjusting to life in a new country is challenging and we continue to work together with councils, charities, the devolved governments and other partners to ensure you have the best support available during your time in the UK.

February 2023: Latest figures show that at 1,431 guests are living in East Sussex under the Homes for Ukraine scheme, with 602 in Wealden. Thank you to every host and every community making our guests welcome. 

The guests are at 571 different properties across the county. More than 400 school places have been allocated to Ukrainian children.

One year anniversary of the war: 24 February 2023

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will lead the nation in silence from Downing Street. This national moment of reflection will offer the UK public the chance to pay tribute to the courage of the Ukrainian people and demonstrate the UK’s unwavering solidarity with the country.

"As we remember the terrible events of 24 February 2022, and the subsequent 12 months, my thoughts are with the Ukrainian people and their President, whose defiance, courage and patriotism in the face of foreign aggression is inspiring.

Hundreds of East Sussex residents have opened their homes to those fleeing the war since the Homes for Ukraine scheme began in March last year and I am immensely proud that Wealden has led the way in providing support and is hosting the most arrivals in the county. I would like to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to all Wealden residents and volunteers involved in local support for the kindness and generosity they have shown to our Ukrainian guests over the past year.

I continue working closely with our incredible volunteers including MAYFACS in Mayfield and the East Sussex Ukraine Support in Hailsham and Hellingly and I am proud to have assisted with over 120 visa applications in order to secure faster arrivals to Wealden.

I have met several Ukrainian families living in Wealden and I know that what they most is to return home safely and reunite with their loved ones. The United Kingdom has stood shoulder to shoulder with Ukraine from the outset and we will continue providing the vital resources Ukraine needs for as long as it takes."

Nusrat Ghani MP

President Zelenskyy visits the UK - February 2023

The Prime Minister hosted President Zelenskyy for a bilateral meeting during his visit to the UK on 8 February 2023. He paid tribute to President Zelenskyy and the Ukrainian people’s courage and sacrifice. The Prime Minister thanked the President for his visit and powerful address to Parliament. President Zelenskyy thanked the Prime Minister for his and the UK’s enduring support, including today’s announcement that the UK will start training to put Ukraine on the path to NATO-standard air combat capability, and that the UK will provide long-range weapons. The leaders discussed the need to accelerate Ukraine’s counter-offensive, backed by support from the UK and other allies. That means providing the kind of advanced capabilities that the UK has announced today, and delivering the same level of equipment that was previously given in months in a matter of weeks.

They agreed that Ukraine’s counter-offensive against the Russian invasion can and will prevail, heralding in a more secure future for Ukraine.



Government schemes

Homes for Ukraine

The Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, Michael Gove, has today  launched a webpage for sponsors to record their interest, ahead of Phase One of the scheme opening for applications this Friday, 18 March.

The Homes for Ukraine scheme will allow individuals, charities, community groups and businesses in the UK to bring Ukrainians to safety – including those with no family ties to the UK.

Phase One of the scheme will allow sponsors in the UK to nominate a named Ukrainian or a named Ukrainian family to stay with them in their home or in a separate property.

Record your interest on the Homes for Ukraine webpage.


January 2023 update: Extension of Homes for Ukraine Scheme

A recent announcement from central government has set out plans for Homes for Ukraine in 2023. This update will see a package of further support for guests and their hosts who so generously opened their homes to those fleeing war.

In recognition of host's ongoing support amidst the rising cost-of-living, all sponsors will receive an increased ‘thank you’ payment of £500 a month for guests who have been in the country for over a year.

‘Thank you’ payments will also be extended from 12 months to 2 years, so that guests who may not yet be ready to move into independent accommodation can stay in sponsorship for longer where sponsors are willing and able to extend arrangements.

In cases where sponsorships can no longer continue, councils in all parts of the UK will receive help to house Ukrainians through a one-off pot of government funding worth £150 million to help mitigate homelessness, as well as a new £500 million Local Authority Housing Fund in England.

This housing £500 million fund will be reserved for councils in England to obtain housing for those fleeing conflicts (including in Ukraine and Afghanistan) and is expected to provide up to 4,000 homes by 2024, reducing the impact of new arrivals on existing housing pressures and eventually providing a new and permanent supply of accommodation for local communities.


1 March 2023; Update from Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities

1. Living with your host

The government is enormously grateful to all those who have volunteered to share their home with Ukrainian people fleeing war. Without the generosity of all our hosts, we simply would not have been able to give shelter to so many of those in need.

In recognition of this, the government has extended the £350 ‘thank you’ payments from 12 months to a maximum duration of two years. The government has also increased the minimum ‘thank you’ payments for hosts from £350 per month to £500 per month, once a guest has been here in the UK for 12 months.

This additional financial support is aimed at helping existing hosts continue with their hosting, as well as encouraging new hosts to come forward.

If you are unable to stay with your current host, you should notify your council as soon as possible. You can find your council at:

2. Finding independent accommodation

While the overwhelming majority of sponsorships have been a success, finding private accommodation is likely to be the best solution for the rest of your time in the UK.

There is high demand for private rental accommodation and social housing. If you are ready to rent, but are facing challenges, you should contact your council to understand what support is available in your area. You can find your council at:

Housing law differs across the United Kingdom and there are different guides to renting if you live in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

If you are living in England and are considering renting in England, a How to Rent guide has been translated in Ukrainian and in Russian and provides advice on navigating the private rented sector in England.

How to Rent guide in English:

How to Rent guide in Ukrainian:

How to Rent guide in Russian:

If you live in Wales, you can find help about renting in Wales here:

If you live in Scotland, the Scottish Government’s New Scots Welcome, available in Ukrainian, provides information about housing options including renting: Further information can also be found at

If you live in Northern Ireland, you can find out more about renting and social housing at

3. Finding work and English language training

Many people on the Homes for Ukraine scheme have found work. This is particularly important for those looking to rent privately, and councils have been granted ongoing funding to support guests to access work, education, training and accommodation.

Not everyone is ready to work, and your council is also available to support you if you are having difficulties finding work.

You may also be entitled to Universal Credit while you are living in the UK. For more information on the financial support that may be available to you please visit:

If you are 19 years old or over, you can access adult education, including English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) through your council.

4. Finding a new host

If you are not able to continue with your current host, and have not found your own accommodation, you may want to find a new host by ‘rematching’. You may already know someone who could host you. If not, there are organisations that may be able to help, including voluntary organisations, charities and your council.

You do not have to stay in the same area and in some cases it may not be possible. If you choose to move, your new council will help you to find services and support in the new area.

If you are having difficulties finding a new host, you should speak to your council who might be able to help you. Please also let your council know if you have found a new host in another area of the UK, or if you decide to return to Ukraine or leave the UK for longer than four weeks. This is important.

5. Actions you need to take

If you have any concerns about where you will live after your sponsorship ends, please contact your council who will help discuss your options.

If you are living in Northern Ireland, the appropriate contacts are:

More guidance is available via

6. Biometric Residence Permit

We would like to remind you to apply for a biometric residence permit (BRP) within six months of the date you entered the UK. A BRP is a card that will allow you to stay in the UK for up to three years. You can use it to prove your right to study, work and claim any benefits you’re eligible for. You can book an appointment at:

Find out more about BRPs at:

7. Support and guidance available online

The government has updated guidance with more information of these changes:

Information from East Sussex County Council

The East Sussex County Council has published a Welcome to East Sussex guide, which is available in full Ukrainian translation here.

For any questions, hosts and guests can contact the Council by email or telephone helpline 01273 337010 (Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm).

Guests can arrange for their £200 cash welcome payment (and four free weeks of travel on Stagecoach buses) by contacting their local voluntary association:

  • In Eastbourne, Lewes or Wealden - contact 01323 639373
  • In Hastings - contact 01424 444010 
  • In Rother - contact 01424 217259 or 07871 603235 

I would like to thank everyone who has offered support so far. I am proud that Wealden is leading the way in providing support in East Sussex, accommodating the most arrivals in the county. It is a huge task, and I am pleased that we now have over a hundred guests in Wealden. I appreciate that the process has not been as easy as it should be. I am putting pressure on the Home Office every day and making repeated representations to ensure that we can provide Ukrainian families with a place of safety as soon as possible.

September 2022 update:

This month marks six months since the beginning of the Homes for Ukraine programme and since the first guests arrived in East Sussex. I am incredibly proud that communities across East Sussex have shown such generosity to Ukrainians seeking sanctuary, and I have been heartened to hear many stories of Ukrainians settling in well to life in the UK.

I also appreciate that the last six months have been very challenging and uncertain for many of our guests and many hosts and guests are thinking about the future and will need further advice and support. There is more to be done and I am pleased that the East Sussex County Council is committed to supporting guests and hosts for the coming months.


November 2022 update: Host payments to increase

East Sussex County Council is asking new potential hosts to come forward and apply to re-match existing guests through the scheme.

East Sussex County Council has taken the decision to increase the monthly payments payable to hosts to thank them for their continued kindness and generosity and to reflect the increased costs people are facing during the current economic crisis.

The monthly thank you payments for all hosts will increase by £150 per month, for six months from October 2022 to March 2023. The increase will apply county wide and be payable to both existing and new hosts. The payments will be administered by Districts or Boroughs and will be processed as soon as possible from November 1st 2022.

In addition, those hosts who reach 12 months of consecutive hosting will receive an additional one-off payment of £1,000 to thank them for their commitment and support to our guests.


Reporting concerns: emergency contact details

Keeping people safe

Families have a right to live in safety, free from any kind of abuse and neglect, and to be protected if their safety is at risk. We call this ‘Safeguarding’, and people can report any concerns they have about themselves 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 anyone has a concern about an adult at risk of abuse, neglect or exploitation, they should:

- 📞 in an emergency call 999
- Call Health and Social Care Connect (HSCC) on 📞 0345 60 80 191
- email 📩 HSCC
- make a report online at Report a concern about an adult.

Safety of children and teenagers

If someone is worried about a child or teenager who might be at risk of harm, they should:

- 📞 in an emergency call 999
- Call 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 here.

Support with conflict resolution

Free mediation and one to one support is available for Ukrainian refugees and those hosting refugees under the Homes for Ukraine Scheme. This service is provided by partners within the Sussex Mediation Alliance, covering East Sussex.

Guests and hosts can refer or signpost for support when there are issues between host family and guests or guests and the immediate community. Mediation support empowers people to find solutions that help them to repair relationships and identify mutually agreeable ways forward. The sooner people access support, the better.

They can contact the relevant service directly to make a referral or discuss a possible case, or they can speak to their Project Officer who covers the whole of East Sussex. Contact details:

Project Officer (East Sussex Wide) for info about the service.
Khadija Khan
📩                        📞  01323 442781

Lewes District referrals
Brighton & Hove Independent Mediation Service
📩                                   📞  01273 700812

Wealden and Eastbourne referrals
Mediation Plus
📩             📞  01323 442781

Hastings and Rother referrals
Hastings and Rother Mediation Service
📩                   📞  01424 446808


Getting to know the local community: Support for Ukrainian guests

Across East Sussex, local groups and organisations are providing activities and support to assist Ukrainian guests in getting to know their new community.

For more information on the community-based activities and support in your area, guests can contact one of the following organisations:

If they are in Hastings Borough, email Hastings Voluntary Action -

If they are in Rother District, email Rother Voluntary Action -

If they are in either Lewes District, Wealden District, or Eastbourne Borough, email 3VA 📩


Help with claiming benefits

There's full advice on how to claim benefits (including Universal Credit) in our 'Welcome to East Sussex' guide for guests.

They will need a face to face appointment to provide ID after making a claim. This will be at one of the five Jobcentres in East Sussex: in Hastings (two sites), Bexhill, Eastbourne (2 sites), Lewes and Newhaven. 

Some Jobcentres open six days a week, Monday to Saturday, so in most weeks they might be asked to attend on any of those days. However all centres will be closed from next Thursday to Sunday (2-5 June) for the bank holiday weekend. 

Claimants are paired with a Work Coach to help them into employment and all jobcentres offer translation services on site. 

There's more in our online welcome guide, in Ukrainian, Russian and English.

Click here to find out more.

Benefits calculator: What are guests entitled to?

If guests are unsure what they're entitled to since arriving in the UK and have yet to apply for universal credit or other types of benefits, they can use the following tool to receive an estimate of their entitlement to benefits, tax credits and Universal Credit 👇

If guests have not yet applied for Universal Credit, they should do so as soon as possible here.

Calculate now.


Guests: Proving their right to work in the UK

Guests are reminded that they need to apply for a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) as soon as possible.

The stamp they received on entry into the UK provides evidence of their right to stay in the UK for the first 6 months only. They will need to extend their stay for up to the 3 years allowed under the Homes for Ukraine scheme. 

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

If you are an employer who needs to view an applicants right to work in the UK, you can do so here.

Guests can apply for their Biometric Residence Permit here.


DWP: A guide for guests arriving in the 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. 

Click here to view it.


Advice and guidance for Ukrainians renting in the UK 🏡

As our guests begin to settle into UK life and become more independent, many will eventually want to look for a flat or house of their own to rent. Below is some useful information to help them get started. Although the rental market in the UK is competitive at the moment, the following tools should help them to understand the cost of renting across different regions of the UK and search for available properties.

🏡 To see the average cost of rent across different areas of the UK, click here.

🏡 For a checklist guide on how to rent in the UK, click here.

There are also many property apps available that they can use to find a place to rent in a specific town or city of their choice. These include:

👉 Zoopla Property
👉 Rightmove UK
👉 OnTheMarket


Help with food and essential items ️

Citizens Advice in East Sussex are now able to provide support to Homes for Ukraine guests who are struggling to buy food and essential items.

Homes for Ukraine guests can contact their local Citizens Advice and apply for a food voucher, and small grant to cover wider essentials such phone costs, clothing costs and essential transport costs.

This CA support is funded by the DWP Household Support Fund. They can contact their local CA for more information. Click here to Contact Citizens Advice.


English language classes for Ukrainians

A number of English language courses are available for those Ukrainians that wish to develop their English language skills. These include:

  • Learning | East Sussex Libraries
  • Pre-entry ESOL programme – 11 week courses through East Sussex College Group in Hastings and Eastbourne 
  • Babbel - the language app, is offering free courses in English for Ukrainian refugees: 
  • Busuu language app is also offering its premium service free to Ukrainians for 3 months. 
  • Sanctuary Cafe
    🕓 Fridays between 10am and midday (12pm). 
    📍  All Souls Church Hall, Wellesley Road, Eastbourne
  • Ukrainian Café Hub
    🕓 Tuesday afternoon 1-4 pm
    📍  Robertson Street, Hastings – conversational English groups
  • Education Training Consortium Sussex - based in Hastings and St Leonards. Currently offering Beginner-Elementary and Pre-Intermediate English lessons as well as IT lessons. Currently offering 8 classes per week. Looking to set up coffee mornings for conversational English. 
  • Refugee Buddy Project - based in Hastings and Rother - provide informal English conversation workshops, 1hr per week, helping with understanding bills, council tax, housing, driving theory. 

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


Job opportunities available in Wealden 💼

A number of job vacancies have become available at Wealden District Council ranging from admin and technical support to project officers. These roles are open to all and we encourage our Ukrainian guests to apply if they are looking for a role.

Those outside of Wealden should still consider applying, as remote work can be considered for some positions.

Search jobs


Free membership with Freedom Leisure

Freedom Leisure Centres across the south east of England are currently offering Ukrainians free access to their facilities for the next 3 months, including use of the swimming pool, gym and fitness classes.

Participating centres are located across Hastings, Rother, Wealden, Brighton, Woking, Guildford and Arun.

To redeem this offer, Ukrainians should visit their local Freedom Leisure Centre where they will be able to sign up on arrival.


My support

I joined colleagues in writing to the Prime Minister to ensure that the UK doesn’t fail refugees fleeing Ukraine in this crisis of war and that there is a strong package of support in place. Read the letter here.

Furthermore, the Magnitsky Sanctions APPG met with Bill Browder to keep the pressure on Government to legislate oligarch sanctions for protecting Putin's money in the UK & review ‘Golden Visas’ for Russians connected to Putin.

There will be a debate in the House of Commons on Monday 7 March on the emergency Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Bill. I have been working with colleagues on a series of amendments to ensure that our laws are as tight as they can be to ensure that Putin’s oligarchs are not washing dirty money through assets and companies set up in the UK.

The Bill, and the amendments I am proposing are available here.

We need to match our NATO & EU partners in ridding the dirty money from the UK and crack down on the Western enablers, the city firms who have set up the structures for the oligarchs. We need legislation that would require them to report to the Government the details of where assets are held by sanctioned individuals and how those assets are hidden.

As well as being your MP, I also represent the UK as a Member of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. I attended the emergency meeting at NATO HQ last month and was steadfast in our support for Ukraine and collective sanctions on Putin and his oligarchs. I will continue to work within NATO PA to support Ukraine.

I have been inundated with correspondence from local residents offering support for the people of Ukraine. I would like to thank all those who have offered support so far. I will continue to work with the Government and Wealden Council to do all we can.

I am grateful to all Wealden residents, community leaders and councillors who have been in touch. I am proud to represent a constituency where local residents want to help as much as they can. I will do my best to help too.


Ukraine War second anniversary - statement

Trade and business support statement by Nusrat Ghani MP, as Minister of State in the Department for Business and Trade and the Cabinet Office, on the second anniversary of the invasion of Ukraine.


Minister Ghani speaks at Road to Ukraine Recovery Conference

Nusrat Ghani, MP for Wealden and Minister of State at the Department for Business and Trade and the Cabinet Office, delivered a speech at the Road to Ukraine Recovery Conference event hosted by the Department for Business and Trade, where the UK-Ukraine Digital Trade Agreement was signed.

Tributes to mark anniversary of invasion of Ukraine

Today marks a year since the brutal, unjustified and unprovoked Russian invasion of Ukraine. A national minute’s silence will take place at 11am on Friday 24 February to mark the one-year anniversary.