Have you a spare room for a Ukrainian refugee? Sue Pearce and Pia Hobart are asking Good Life readers if they could find room in their homes, as they have done, for those fleeing the war-torn country. The Ellerton Road neighbours feel that the UK government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme – which sponsors hosts to
Have you a spare room for a Ukrainian refugee?
Sue Pearce and Pia Hobart are asking Good Life readers if they could find room in their homes, as they have done, for those fleeing the war-torn country.
The Ellerton Road neighbours feel that the UK government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme – which sponsors hosts to take in refugees – has disappeared off the front pages yet there are still thousands who are looking for safety away from the stricken country which was invaded by Russia over six months ago.
Sue and Pia are willing to share their experiences with others and – if some would like to take it further – to help them negotiate the process of becoming a sponsor.
“You might save someone’s life just with your spare room,” said Sue.
Sue said she and her husband David had found having 41-year-old Hanna Pasechnyk staying with them a very positive experience.
“It has been such a good experience for all of us. We have got a lot out of it as well and we just want to try and encourage other people to contemplate it.”
She said she was very happy to speak to anyone who might be in two minds about it.
“There may be some older people who would love to have someone come to stay with them and feel they were helping – but can’t cope with the internet and don’t know where to start.”
And Pia added: “When you are taking a decision like this it’s not an easy decision, it’s a change of life situation, so having a bit of guidance is really helpful.”
Both Hanna, a former process manager who is staying with Sue and David, and Olha Shalamai, 28, who was in customer support for an IT company and who is staying with Pia and her husband John, are anxious that other refugees can also find safety in Surbiton homes.
“I just would like other Ukrainians to be able to have the chance of living in safety with a loving, caring family like I have,” said Hanna who saw a Russian helicopter shot down and who spent two weeks sheltering in a basement in Kiev from gunfire in the streets and missiles raining down overhead.
“There are a lot of people who are still living in a horrible situation and they just need some help and some safe place,” she explained.
Olha, whose mother, a doctor, is still in Kiev, said: “My mother wanted me to get to a place of safety. I was lucky to find Pia and John but I know a lot of families, Ukrainian and British, who cannot find a contact.”
Many British families have linked up to refugees via Facebook sites like UK Accommodation, Job and Sponsorship (Hanna and Sue met each other through this group) and Sunflower Sisters (specifically for female refugees), others via charities like Opora, Reset Communities and Refugees, and Refugees at Home, as well as churches.
If you would like to find out more about being a sponsor email The Good Life at [email protected] and we will pass your details on to Sue.
Pictured: front Hanna Pasechnyk, 41, and Olha Shalamai, 28, with Sue Pearce and David Easterbrook and Anna the dog age 3