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Fifty-plus Ukrainian refugees expected in BCP Council area

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MORE than 50 Ukraine refugees could be arriving in the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole area within the coming days.

They will be matched up with some of the 105 residents who have offered a place in their homes or self-contained properties, under the national Homes for Ukraine scheme, writes Trevor Bevins of the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

The council has been working to ensure checks have been carried out on properties and individuals offering to help, with staff working at weekends and in the evenings.

The majority of the refugees are expected to be women and children
The majority of the refugees are expected to be women and children

Standard background checks are needed for those offering accommodation to adults, with advanced checks needed for anyone offering a home to vulnerable adults or to children.

All of those aged 16 or over in a host house also need to undergo an individual background check.

The council’s overview and scrutiny committee heard that advice being offered by the government continued to be updated, and there were still some areas of uncertainty.

The council and its partners will have welcome points at the airport and train stations and is in the process of developing a welcome pack in Polish, Russian and Ukrainian, with an English version being given to local hosts.

For each refugee the council will be given £10,000 to help meet expenses, with each of the refugees being offered a visa for three years and with the same rights and access to services and benefits as local residents.

The majority are expected to be women and children.

Committee members heard that there had been some concern about access to school places and GP services, with some local schools and medical centres already over-subscribed.

Cllr Vikki Slade said: “There is a risk that some residents will feel frustrated if, perhaps, services they have been unable to access are able to be accessed, quite rightly and understandably, by people arriving.

"I’m thinking in particular about school places. We have got families who are home-educating their children because they can’t get into schools at the moment, and that’s going to cause some community tensions.”

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