COUNCILLORS have pledged to continue helping desperate families fleeing the war in Ukraine to receive the support and funding they need in Teignbridge.

Members at the full council meeting were asked to make a commitment to carry on funding services for Ukrainian guests arriving in the district.

They heard that there are currently 297 Ukrainian people registered as having arrived in Teignbridge, where the council has a duty to fulfil the requirements of the government’s Homes for Ukraine funding scheme.

The council provides ‘thank you’ payments to hosts and ‘welcome’ payments to guests as well as carrying out safeguarding checks and property inspections and offering advice and support.

Council leader Martin Wrigley (Lib Dem, Dawlish North East) said he wanted to thank the people of Teignbridge who had helped their guests over the 559 days of the war so far.

He added: 'They have made these refugees from a ghastly war in Europe welcome, and they have become part of our communities.

'Our housing team has done a fantastic job for us.'

But, he said, there were potential difficulties ahead.

A report to the meeting said the future of the Homes for Ukraine scheme was hard to predict as much depended on the evolving situation in Ukraine and future decisions by the government.

Currently, guests from Ukraine have the right to remain in the UK for three years from the date they arrive, but host payments are only in place for two years.

The council fears that from February or March next year payments to hosts may cease, meaning guests may be asked to leave, increasing the pressure on Teignbridge housing services.

'The government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme was only designed to last for two years, and we don’t yet know what is happening after those two years have finished,' said Cllr Wrigley.

'I am hopeful that the government will extend this scheme and deliver succour to those in need. However, we have to work out how to use the funds to the best effect.'

The government pays Devon County Council £10,500 for every Ukrainian guest that arrives in the county, and Teignbridge receives a proportion of that to provide its services and support.

The funding can only be used for Ukrainian households who arrive through the Homes for Ukraine scheme.