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Preparing for your guests and the first few weeks

Tips and links including help from local councils, SIM cards and bank accounts and more

Bank accounts and Universal Credit

Once your guests have arrived, you can help them apply for a bank account, which will be necessary if they want to apply for Universal Credit. Some online banks such as Revolut apparently do not require proof of permanent address (such as a utility bill).

Applying for Universal Credit: it is important to do this quickly as it cannot be backdated. There is some helpful information here. There is a question asking if you're part of a Ukrainian scheme.


A number of charities are providing free SIM cards loaded with data for between 3 and 6 months – e.g the Embrace Me Foundation (

3 are giving away free one-month SIMs. Turn up at one of their stores shop to collect one, apparently. 

Vodafone are offering free connectivity to Ukrainian refugees arriving in the UK and are collecting and distributing second-hand smartphones. More here.

Further help and resources

The Ukrainian Welcome Centre is a partnership between the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of the Holy Family in London and the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain (AUGB), who say: “The Ukrainian Welcome Centre is your single point of contact for all essential information for arrival, settling and long-term living in the UK.” Their site looks as if it has a lot of useful links, resources and advice, including advice for sponsors and a section on how to stay in touch with your Ukrainian heritage, including community centres, Ukrainian supplementary schools and play groups. 

Here is a really good article for hosts on how to support newly arrived refugees: 

Homes for Ukraine: Experts share tips for hosts welcoming refugees, from asking questions to building routine (

Here is a hosting good practice guide

Here is a toolkit that contains a lot of symbols and pictograms that will help you communicate with Ukrainian or Russian speakers.

This is a really useful deep dive into understanding Ukrainian culture.

Here is a draft version of a set of household rules that you might find useful if you want to try to establish a well understood way of living together with your guest(s).

Preparing for your guests and the first few weeks: Causes
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