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10 steps to getting settled in Peterborough

1. Childcare

If your child is under four most children will attend a nursery or pre-school setting where children focus on learning through play.

Childcare Choices is a useful website to take you through your options.

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​You can get help towards childcare depending on your circumstances, including: ​

  • Free childcare places for children aged 3 and 4. ​

  • Extra free childcare if you are working and your child is aged 3 and 4.​

  • Free childcare if your child is 2 and you are on a very low income​

You may also be able to get money off your childcare bills if you are working or are on Universal Credit.​

Find out more in the nurseries and childcare section.

2. Education, skills and learning English

If you have a child aged between 4 and 16 you will need to apply for a school place for them. To do this you need to complete an application form.

Further information is available in the school admissions section.

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Some children may require additional support and most get this from their school. However, on occasions the Special Educational Needs teams assist in supporting children who may require an Education Health Care Plan.​

You can find out further information on the SEND Local Offer website.

​If you are aged 19 or over and have entered the UK under a Family Scheme or a refugee resettlement scheme, you will be able to access English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) lessons.​

​This will either be fully funded or co-funded (approximate 50% Government contribution) depending upon your age, prior attainment, and circumstances. ​

​There are several local course providers:

If you would like to continue your studies in the UK or gain new skills to help you to start a new career, you can sign up to a course with one of the following local organisations:​

3. Emergencies

If you are in danger - call 999 to contact the emergency services if any of the following apply:

  • you feel that you or anyone with you is in immediate danger
  • a crime is in progress
  • you or anyone with you needs urgent medical attention

This number will contact the Police, Fire Service and Ambulance Service.

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If you are affected by a crime that is committed on the basis of your identity or perceived identity including:

  • disability
  • race or ethnicity
  • religion or belief
  • sexual orientation
  • gender identity

you can follow one of the routes below.

Telephone the police on 101 (non emergency) or report it at

4. Find a job

If you have refugee status you have the right to work as soon as you arrive in the UK. You need to be 18-years-old to work full time.​

​To look for a job, you can use a free government website Find a Job to be connected with thousands of employers across the UK. ​

​You can also find a job by:​

  • Visiting the Peterborough Jobcentre Plus office who can help you find and apply for local jobs.​
  • Registering with a recruitment agency​
  • Visiting local businesses to ask about jobs
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If you need help with finding a job, you can ask for support from Reed in Partnership.

You will be able to use your Biometric Residence Permit as evidence of your right to work in the UK. Find out more about proving your right to work to an employer on GOV.UK.

5. Healthcare

The National Health Service (NHS) provides health services to people living in the UK, most of these services are free.​​

Refugees are guaranteed free access to NHS healthcare on a similar basis as other UK residents. 

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Family doctors are called General Practitioners, a GP is the first doctor you will see when accessing healthcare.

To receive medical treatment, you and your children must register with a GP as soon as possible, even if you are not ill. You can find GPs that are near where you are living using the NHS Find a GP website.​

​You will be asked to fill out a registration form and bring identification and proof of your address if you can.

Please note: your ID (Identity Document) and proof of address is not necessary for registering with a GP. You should not be asked about your immigration status.​

Call NHS 111 for advice on symptoms.  You can also check on the NHS 111 Get help for your symptoms website.

If your GP wants you to take a particular medication, he or she will provide you with a prescription that you will need to take to your local pharmacy or chemist. The GP surgery will tell you where to go to collect your medicine. You can also find local pharmacies on the NHS website.

There is normally a small charge for prescriptions, which you will be asked to pay when you collect your medication at the pharmacy. ​

However, prescriptions are provided free of charge if you meet certain requirements, your prescription will be free if you are:

  • Age 60 or over ​
  • Age 16 or under ​
  • Age 16 to 18 and in full-time education ​
  • Pregnant (or have had a baby in the previous 12 months) ​
  • An inpatient receiving care in an NHS hospital ​

This list is not exhaustive; free prescriptions may also be available if you have certain specified medical conditions or a continuing physical disability. If you think this may apply to you, you should ask your GP who will be able to provide you with advice. ​

Some very common medications, such as painkillers and cough medicines, are available for sale over the counter. You will not need a prescription for these types of medication, but you will have to pay for them yourself.

You can book an appointment with your GP to get vaccines for you children. Find out more about vaccinations and when to have them on the NHS website

Some dentists offer NHS treatment and private treatment. You should register with a dentist as an NHS patient and let them know if you are receiving benefits, in which case your check-ups and necessary treatment will be free. ​

​Please note that getting dental treatment before receiving Universal Credit can result in charges.

6. Housing

The housing section of the council website has information about how to apply for housing, housing benefits, repairs, and more.

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If you plan to rent from a private landlord, you can find local houses and apartments to rent and house-sharing opportunities, on the following websites:​

7. Mobile phone and Internet access

The Peterborough Asylum and Refugee Community Association (PARCA) will give you a free UK SIM card to work in your mobile phone.

Find out how to contact PARCA

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You can use a computer and access the internet for free at a library.

Find your nearest library on the Peterborough Libraries website.

8. Opening a bank account

To open a bank account, you need to go to any local bank and show documents that prove:

  • Your identity
  • Your immigration status
  • Your current address

The Refugee Council website has a useful guide to banking available to download. 

New arrivals icon - bank account

9. Trauma and mental health

For urgent mental health needs or crisis, call 111 and choose option 2 for mental health services or visit the Keep Your Head website for further information. 

New arrivals icon - mental health

The Keep Your Head website has reliable information on mental health and wellbeing for children, young people, adults, professionals, and schools across Cambridgeshire & Peterborough.

There is a full list of support services available locally on the Keep Your Head website.

For other serious mental health needs, go to your GP they will direct you.

Counselling support is available from the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Foundation Trust.

You can complete the self-referral form on the NHS Cambridgeshire and Peterborough website.

Cruse provide bereavement support, you can find out more on the Cruse website.

10. Travelling around the city

There are many different ways you can travel around Peterborough and outside of the city, the Traveline website has details of routes and different types of transport. 

You don’t need to show identification to travel within the UK unless you are travelling by plane.

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There is an extensive bus network across the city, most bus services are operated by Stagecoach, you can find out bus times and buy tickets on the Stagecoach website or Stagecoach app on a smartphone. You can also pay for your ticket when you get on the bus.

Other bus services are operated by Delaine Buses and First Bus.

Peterborough has approximately 450km of both on and off road cycle routes. This includes 11 named and numbered routes providing a quick, safe and easy way to get around.

Linking to these routes is the Green Wheel, a 45 mile long cycle route circling the city, which takes you through the historic fens and scenic countryside that surrounds Peterborough.

You can find maps of routes and other useful cycling information on the Travelchoice website.

You must have both a full driving licence and in date motor insurance to drive a vehicle on UK roads.​

If you have a full driving licence that was issued abroad, you may use this licence to drive small vehicles (such as motorcycles, cars, and vehicles up to 3500kgs or with up to eight passenger seats) for up to a year in the UK. The licence must cover the vehicle being driven and must still be valid.​

​To continue to drive after this, you must obtain a provisional driving licence and pass a UK driving test before the 12 months ends. You can find more information about how to apply for your first driving licence on GOV.UK.

Peterborough train station is located in the city centre. You can find out information about the station and train times on the National Rail website.