Step forward for West Lothian's Ukrainian refugee scheme

Plans are moving forward that will enable the arrival of Ukrainian refugees to West Lothian.

A charity football match between Scotland and Ukraine fans in March. Stock pic by John Devlin.
A charity football match between Scotland and Ukraine fans in March. Stock pic by John Devlin.

A report approved by Council Executive heard that the required checks and liaison with registered host families can now take place following Scottish Government guidance.

Clarity on UK Government and Scottish Government funding has also been received, after delays in both the UK Government’s Home for Ukraine Scheme and the Scottish Government’s Super Sponsor Scheme.

A small number of Ukrainian persons have already arrived in West Lothian under individual sponsor arrangements, and council services are liaising with the households and families concerned.

A total of 45 households across West Lothian have registered from across the majority of ward areas, with 99 Ukrainian persons matched under the UK Homes for Ukraine Scheme.

Speaking about the Ukrainian refugees s cheme, West Lothian Council’s depute chief executive Graeme Struthers said: “We appreciate that delays have caused uncertainty and frustration for the Ukrainian refugees who want to come to the UK, their host families and the council.

“Now that further information and guidance has been received from both the Scottish and UK Government, we hope to complete the process as quickly as possible to enable more Ukrainian refugees to come to West Lothian as soon as is feasible.”

The council has established a working group involving a range of council services and other key partner agencies to deliver the required support and services to the host families and arriving persons.

A letter has been sent to each household registered, thanking them for volunteering to be a host and advising of the necessary requirements for this. The council will also be liaising with voluntary groups and related charities to assist the host families and Ukrainian refugees once they have arrived.

As reported previously, Ukrainian dentist Anastasia Martin, who lives and works in Linlithgow, had previously called on the council to open the Low Port Centre to house 15 families fleeing her war-torn homeland. The council has said it is more likely to focus on using other facilities .