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Support, social groups and resources for Ukrainians

A list of resources available to Ukrainians to help them as they adapt to their new lives in Dorset.

Support and social groups

Together with Dorset Mind we've set up some support and social groups for our Ukrainian guests. These informal groups offer the chance to ask questions, meet new friends and take part in some relaxation techniques. Find out more about these groups including the dates and places where they're being held during August, September and October. 

Free gym membership

BH Live has pledged support to Ukrainian guests, with free Ukrainian Refugee memberships available until the end of 2022.

A BH Live spokesperson said: “We know that sport and physical activity is a welcome slice of normality for refugees, as well as a good way to get involved in local communities.

“We hope to support the individual and family’s physical and mental wellbeing and to support them to adjust to life in the UK."

Ukrainian refugees will need a relevant ID, government letter or biometric resident's permit to apply for membership.

Everyone Active are also offering a free 12 month membership to Ukrainian refugees.

English language resources

To help Ukrainians settle further into their new lives, we've compiled a list of resources that can help with the basics of the English language.

The Skills and Learning Adult Community Education provider for Dorset have a webpage dedicated to showing how Ukrainian nationals can enrol onto free English lessons. It also features a tool to translate the whole page into a number of different languages (including Russian, Polish, Ukrainian) and also provides further useful links.

Thousands of free eBooks and audiobooks in Ukrainian

In order to provide a range of free reading, listening, learning and entertainment opportunities for Ukrainians, multimedia content provider Odilio launched a free app for both Android and iOS in early April.

Available across Europe, the app includes 3,000 e-books and audiobooks in a variety of genres, including 1,700 Ukrainian titles and 500 in English. There is material for both children and adults to offer the support, pleasure or comfort of reading, learning and listening in these difficult and uncertain times. 

200 free minutes for the Beryl Bike Scheme

Beryl Bikes are offering 200 free minutes to all refugees aged over 16 within the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole area.

To claim the free minutes, refugees with will need a smart phone to download the app and add a credit or debit card to the account. Bikes must be locked at the end of their use and returned to a bike bay. If they are not locked and returned, a charge will be applied to the card on the account.

The minutes can also be used on scooters, but there is an unlocking fee that would be charged to the card on the account.

To apply for the 200 minute bundle please email resettlement@bcpcouncil.gov.uk with ‘Beryl Bikes’ in the email. Include the name and address of the person requesting the offer. Once the team have confirmed the applicant's refugee status, a code will be sent to them by email for them to add to their account. We aim to respond within five working days, however during peak times the team will be prioritising the settlement of refugees.

Free bus passes

Exploring the area you're living in is essential for any new arrival. Go SouthCoast are offering a free 30 day family pass for up to 2 adults and 3 children for people entering under the Homes for Ukraine Visa Scheme.

To access a pass the host family or Ukrainian family will need to:

  • identify which bus service they want to use from the list below
  • download the relevant app onto a smart phone
  • email resettlement@bcpcouncil.gov.uk with ‘Free bus travel’ in the title and providing their name, address, email address and the brand of bus to travel on
  • Include ‘I give consent for my information to be passed to Go South Coast.

BCP Council will then verify the details provided, pass them to Go South Coast and a complimentary ticket will be added to the account.

List of bus services relevant to our area

Further resources and offerings

  • Open University - online free learning platform with a variety of courses
  • Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) - support for Ukrainians in accessing work or education in the civil and town planning market
  • Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) - support for Ukrainians in accessing work in the architecture sector
  • Uyghur Tribunal - advice for Ukrainians in the UK
  • Barnardo's - a range of support to arriving Ukrainians including advice on life in the UK, employment, education and support staying in touch with family
  • Family Law Bar Association (FLBA) - assistance with legal services, advice on legal status of any unaccompanied minors, including parental responsibility. Advice on legal framework for managing their care and support
  • National Trust - free and renewable six month passes for National Trust sites if you are staying with a National Trust member
  • Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) - support with sight loss awareness e-learning, access to support services, free equipment, advice on pet welfare, community connections and connections with local sight loss organisations
  • Busy Bees Nurseries - 10 free half-day sessions per week per nursery for Ukrainians. Can be split across multiple children or families.
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