Wealden District Council
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Ukrainian Refugee Crisis

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has caused devastation.

Many people across East Sussex have responded with donations, support or by offering to open their homes to refugees. Thank you to everyone who is doing what they can.

Ukrainians have often fled with few possessions. Many will be traumatised by the war. All have been through an ordeal.

All the local authorities in East Sussex, the East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service and local volunteers, are working together to help welcome and settle Ukrainian refugees as they join our communities.  

Our county already has a proud record of helping people forced to flee wars but this is the largest challenge we have had to rise to. Please bear with us as we work together to provide the checks, living arrangements, support and welcome that new arrivals will need.

Homes for Ukraine

If you can offer a home, or spare room for at least six months, to people fleeing Ukraine, you can become a ‘sponsor’ through the Government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme

East Sussex County Council will soon be directly contacting everyone in East Sussex who has been matched with Ukrainian guests. If you have registered for the scheme but not yet been matched, please do not contact us but await more information.

There are also several charitable organisations that may be able to help you connect with refugees looking for homes under the scheme. These include:

If you have a Ukrainian family member fleeing the country, you don’t need to register as a sponsor. They should instead apply for the Ukraine Family Scheme visa.

See also: Ukraine Family Scheme – more information.

Other ways to help


We know many people in East Sussex want to help Ukraine and its people. Cash donations are the fastest way to help: Red Cross – Why cash donations are better than goods

These national organisations will welcome donations:

Give local support

Many of the towns and parish councils in Wealden are undertaking specific projects to support Ukrainian’s coming into the district. For more information can be found on our town and parish council’s webpage.

Welcome guides for hosts and guests

East Sussex County Council have published two welcome guides. 

Both are intended to offer some useful information and links to help people arriving in the area from Ukraine settle into the community.

Either can be translated into Ukrainian (or Russian) by using the translation tool at the top of the pages.

Entering and staying in the UK

Guidance for Ukraine nationals and their family members wanting to enter the UK:

National Rail – Displaced Persons Travel Scheme

To help Ukrainian nationals travelling to the United Kingdom, most public transport operators, including National Rail, are offering free onward travel to get you to a safe place. The offer is valid across all National Rail train operators, light rail services and the majority of bus and coach services in England, Scotland, and Wales, and you will have 48 hours from arrival in the UK to complete your journey.

You will also be able to travel free across London using London Underground, Docklands Light Railway (DLR) and London bus and tram services so you can reach your destination as quickly as possible.

To make use of this scheme, you will need to show your Ukrainian passport and a boarding pass or ticket showing your arrival into the UK.

Use the journey planner below to help find your journey.

Щоб допомогти українцям, які прибувають до Сполученого Королівства, більшість транспортних операторів, включаючи Національну залізницю, пропонують безкоштовний доїзд до вашого місця безпеки. Ця пропозиція дійсна для всіх операторів Національної залізниці, легких залізниць та більшості міських та міжміських автобусів в Англії, Шотландії та Уельсі, і у вас буде 48 годин з часу прибуття в Сполучене Королівство, щоб завершити свою подорож.

Ви також зможете безкоштовно подорожувати через Лондон на лондонському метрополітені, легкій залізниці Доклендс (DLR) та лондонських автобусах і трамваях, щоб ви могли дістатися до вашого місця призначення якомога скоріше.

Щоб скористатися з цієї програми, вам буде потрібно пред’явити свій український паспорт, а також посадковий талон або квиток, який показує ваше прибуття до Сполученого Королівства.

Скористайтеся планувальником подорожі нижче, щоб спланувати свою поїздку.

Advice and Support for Ukrainians once in the UK

The Red Cross have assembled practical help and guides for refugees on what it’s like to live in the UK and how to access essential services, which can be found here.

The Red Cross also run an Emotional Support Helpline for those finding it hard to get the help they need in the UK, as well as running services for refugees and people seeking asylum.

It helps people who are lonely, worried, and finding it hard to get the help they need in the UK. 

Call on 0808 196 3651 open daily 10am – 6pm. You can ask for an interpreter if you need one, the service provides help in more than 200 languages.

Further Information

We’ll keep these pages updated with news and information. Alternatively, visit the East Sussex County Council’s dedicated webpage.