The number of Ukrainian refuges in Cheshire West and Chester looks set to more than double as families continue to open their homes to those fleeing war.

The Government launched the Homes for Ukraine scheme in March, giving UK residents the chance to sign up as a sponsor and provide accommodation to refugees.

The council has since been working with local people who are offering a home to those fleeing the Russian invasion, offering support and advice as well as outlining next steps before their guests’ arrival.

At a meeting of the authority’s cabinet this week, council leader Louise Gittins told members that so far, 270 refugees had been taken in, including 100 under the age of 18. She said a further 300 were due to arrive soon.

Cllr Gittins said: “The guests are all staying in the homes of local families and I’d like to extend a big thanks to those families for their generosity and kindness.

“As you all know, it’s not straightforward in terms of welcoming and integrating refugees into the borough, it involves accommodation checks for suitability, DBS checks, welfare checks when people arrive, work with the schools to support children effectively, arranging language courses for families and wider education packages for parents.

"Pulling together welcome packs to make people’s transitions as stress-free and well informed as possible.”

She added: “It’s a huge undertaking and clearly not down to one single team.

"Colleagues from across the council with many of our partners have worked incredibly hard to welcome and properly support people at what will be one of the most challenging and distressing times of their lives. I’d like to offer my sincere thanks to everyone involved up to this point.”

Last year the council unanimously backed a move to become a 'borough of sanctuary' for refugees and asylum seekers.

While it does not impact the numbers the borough is expected to take in, it made it part of the City of Sanctuary network – a list of towns, boroughs and cities that have voiced their commitment towards becoming a safe place for those fleeing violence and persecution.