More hosts needed to give homes to Ukrainians

A charity that helps Ukrainian refugees settle in North Yorkshire has issued a plea for new host families to welcome people into their homes.

The Scarborough Sunflower Appeal was set up by volunteers from the Salvation Army in 2023, when Ukrainians fleeing war were offered the chance to build a new life in the UK.

The group provides support with navigating education and health systems.

Appeal leader Iryna Kutsemakhina said the supply of hosts had slowed down despite a flow of refugees looking to live in the UK.

more hosts needed to give homes to ukrainians

A resident of the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv reacts to destruction caused by a Russian missile attack in May

She said: “When the war broke out in February 2022, there were a lot of people who wanted to be sponsors, but now I think that life in England is a little more complicated than it was two years ago and of course, people have a lot of their own problems and issues.

“So now we are getting a lot of requests from Ukrainians to come over, but we don’t have enough sponsors or families who can help.

“I understand why but I will always still ask for anyone who can help, especially as it is mostly now mothers who can’t bear their children being part of the war any longer.”

Ms Kutsemakhina, who fled Dnipro with her two children, said she felt “very privileged” that she was able to find a host soon after the Russian invasion began.

She explained that a friend in Scarborough got in touch with her while she was still in Ukraine and told her that a man she knew was looking for a family to sponsor.

Just 20 days later, the three of them arrived in the town along with her sister, niece and nephew.

Ms Kutsemakhina was contacted by the Salvation Army after helping another group called Sunflowers Will Help Ukraine with translation.

The charity told her about its plans to help Ukrainians in North Yorkshire as the government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme was launched.

'Warm atmosphere'

She now has her own flat and is settled in Scarborough.

She said: “This project is the biggest thing a Ukrainian can dream about, not only in England but every foreign country, because the slogan for this project was ‘from home to home’.

“Now I realise it is really true, as being in the Salvation Army we can always find part of our home, we can always find a warm atmosphere here, and we can always find help.

“It’s a great opportunity to get all Ukrainians together and to hear our language.”

Anyone able to offer accommodation to the refugees should contact the Scarborough branch of the Salvation Army,

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