FIFTEEN more homes for Ukrainian and Afghan refugees are to be made available in Woking.

The new occupants will join around 400 refugees from war-torn countries who are living in the borough. They include 250 Ukrainians, five Afghan families and 50 Syrian families.

The extra accommodation is being paid for by more than £2million from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, led by Michael Gove, the MP for Surrey Heath.

Woking Borough Council is urging more local residents to offer to host refugees in the Homes for Ukraine Scheme, which has been running for a year.

Host families are given £350 per month, rising to £500 after a year.

Will Forster, the council deputy leader, said: “I’d like to thank the hundreds of kind-hearted Woking residents who have opened their doors to warmly welcome those refugees.

“With the conflict now into its second year, we continue to need new hosts to come forward. Your act of kindness could make an incredible difference to someone’s life and provide someone a home.

“Woking is keen to do what we can to help Ukrainian and Afghan refugees in these difficult times.

“The 15 additional homes will allow us to continue making a difference to the lives of many seeking safety and refuge whilst alleviating the impact of new arrivals on existing housing pressures.”

One of the Woking host families is Roy and Blanqui Butcher, who have Ivanna living with them.

Roy said he would recommend anyone with space in their homes to sign up as a host.

He said hosting causes changes in routines and responsibilities and requires the forging of new understandings and relationships.

“Ukrainian people are very family oriented, respectful and polite. It is a very rewarding experience,” Roy said.

Ivanna, who has settled in well and has found a full-time job, said: “On behalf of Ukrainians I would like to thank British people for supporting us in such a difficult time.

“You are helping refugees like myself feel like we’re not alone in this world.”

To enquire about housing refugees through the Homes for Ukraine Scheme, email [email protected].