There are currently more than 200 Ukrainian refugees in Argyll and Bute, a new report has revealed.
Many people who fled the Russian invasion quickly found jobs, while 50 children attend local schools.
The report to next week’s board meeting outlines the challenges in sustaining Ukrainian sponsorship programs.
But he adds: “The long-term viability of the super sponsor program remains to be determined and our geography has certainly added to the challenges.
“However, what is clear is that our sponsors and communities are supportive, welcoming and safe and Argyll and Bute provides both a place to recover from the horrors of war and to plan for the future, whatever.”
The council has increased the size of its resettlement team to try to support Ukrainian Displaced Persons (UDPs), with interpreters and translators also being recruited.
The number of arrivals in recent months has increased and since yesterday there are:
- 111 people with Homes for Ukraine visas where sponsor and guest correspond before arrival.
- 64 people on a Super Sponsor visa, where the UDP is matched with a sponsor or assigned social housing after a temporary stay in a hotel.
- 57 people on Super Sponsor visas currently in temporary hotel accommodation in Argyll and Bute where matchmaking discussions are ongoing.
Nine housing association properties are now occupied, and five more are decorated, carpeted and furnished.
The report adds, “The number of UDPs in sponsorship and temporary hotel accommodation changes daily.
“As guests leave the hotels, they are successfully matched and are quickly replaced by new guests arriving in Scotland assigned to temporary accommodation at Argyll and Bute hotels.
“We also continue to see a number of arrivals each week through the Homes for Ukraine program.”
A three-month free bus pass program was launched last month, with support from all local transport providers.
The report adds, “UDPs get jobs very quickly and we have enrolled our first cohort of Ukrainian education professionals on our career path.
“This will see them working in our schools initially in a support role to gain experience and knowledge about our curriculum.
“The other advantage of this approach is that it provides Ukrainian speakers in schools with Ukrainian students.
“We have 50 students in 14 schools across the authority.”