10 June 2022

Havering Council and YMCA Thames Gateway Group have teamed up to open a new service offering vital support to help Ukrainian refugees to settle in to the borough.

The new one-stop shop – based at YMCA Romford, Rush Green Road – has brought together a number of different Council services and local partners to provide essential help to get Ukrainian guests in Havering set up for a new life in the UK. This includes:

  • Opening a bank account
  • Registering for a National Insurance number
  • Applying to join a GP practice
  • Applying for Universal Credit
  • Signposting to other key services and community groups.

The ‘shop’ is open every Wednesday from 10am – 4pm. There is no need to make an appointment – visitors are encouraged to come along when best suits them. A translator will be on hand to offer extra help and there will also be food and drink available for those attending.

Councillor Ray Morgon, Leader of Havering Council, said:

“I am pleased that the Council has been able to join together with the YMCA to open this new One-stop shop for Ukrainian refugees arriving in Havering.

“It is already proving to be a lifeline to many families and individuals as they set about trying to establish a new life here in our borough. Simple things such as setting up a bank account or registering with a GP can often become daunting and difficult in a foreign place or in a second language. This service is there to lend a much-needed helping hand to our new residents.

“Many of the people arriving here have been through a horrific ordeal and it will take time to settle into a new place to call home. As ever the Council and our local partners such as the YMCA are rallying to support and welcome these people to our borough. We will not turn our backs on the Ukrainian people at their time of need and just as we did with the Afghan crisis last year and as we always do – Havering is ready to rise to the challenge and help however we can.”

Dave Ball, Chief Executive of YMCA Thames Gateway Group, said:

“Coming to a new country out of necessity rather than choice must be an incredibly overwhelming thing. Perhaps you speak a little of the language but maybe you don’t. And even if you do, navigating the systems in place that will allow you to work and open a bank account, will not be simple.

“As a community organisation, we’re so pleased to be able to provide support to the Ukrainian people arriving in Havering. I believe this is the very least we can do and we hope to be able to extend the support out more widely to our communities, once we have developed the model in conjunction with Havering Council.”

The new one-stop shop is now open at the YMCA Romford, 29 Rush Green Road, RM7 0PH.