Homes for Ukrainians, could you help?
It's been nearly a year since Ukrainian families first sought refuge across Europe.
The Homes for Ukraine scheme was set up so families in the UK could host Ukrainians fleeing the conflict in their country. And whilst the scheme was only expected to be in place for six months as we know that was not to be the case.
Surrey has opened its doors to Ukrainian families, with over 3,000 people arriving having fled the war, the second highest number out of 152 council areas in England.
Despite this response from the people of Surrey, UK host families are still needed who can help provide a home for Ukrainian refugees. Host families are able to claim 'thank-you' payments for hosting Ukrainian families, now up to £600 per month, which can help with increased cost of living expenses.
Surrey communities have been fantastic in rallying together to make our Ukrainian guests welcome and have enabled them to integrate into life in the UK with language courses, help with finding employment, and general assistance with navigating everyday life in the UK.
There is a big support network already established in Surrey that enables these families to gain their independence whilst in the UK. And whilst it may seem a huge sacrifice to welcome guests into one's home and indeed family, some Surrey residents have been telling of the enormous positive impact that our Ukrainian friends have had on their lives in the short time they have been with us.
Residents share their heart warming stories of hosting Ukrainians in their homes
Edwin in Mole Valley
"We have nine-year-old Vika and her mother staying with us, which is a great pleasure. My wife and I sing in a choir which had been rehearsing at our house for the Christmas carol concert. Vika expertly taught us the original Ukrainian words and pronunciation for the popular, Carol of the Bells and she bravely sang along too!".
Gillian in Mole Valley
"Dasha has transformed our lives, both metaphorically and literally. During the summer she insisted on repainting our garden cottage, all of our garden furniture, our quirky statues and then, when there was nothing left to paint, went about ensuring our patio and garden looked amazing. We now talk about ourselves as living in the house and garden Dasha created.
Our five dogs, adore her. Like us, they simply cannot imagine life without her and sit outside her door every morning waiting for her to wake and fuss over them. Dasha's enthusiasm and willingness to try is a joy to behold. This has seen her have individual English by Zoom, attend Summer School in Epsom, join a running club, become an integral member of our small Help Desk team as the in-house IT expert".
Epsom and Ewell Youth Hub
Anna, originally from Ukraine, has a degree and a master's in food technology in Ukraine with experience in sales management. Anna was looking for employment and Epsom Jobcentre Plus referred her to The Epsom and Ewell Youth Hub for support. The hub worked with Anna to prepare her for interviews which were very different from those she had experienced in Ukraine. She said: "Thanks to the support provided by the Epsom and Ewell Youth Hub, I was successful in my application for a new role a few weeks later. In Epsom and Ewell I feel I have been supported and welcomed and I'm looking forward to continuing to live and work here".
Find out more
See our web pages: I wish to offer support to Ukrainian crisis.
Or listen to the Surrey Matters podcast: Stream #7 - Finding out what refugee and evacuee support looks like in Surrey by SurreyMatters, Listen online for free on SoundCloud
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