Despite the war in Ukraine lasting almost a year, many families are still in desperate need of a place of safety. Could you offer a couple of rooms, or better still an annexe or holiday home? Or do you have a second property you could rent out at a reduced rate?
There are several organisations set up to help host families, including SURCS, a local network of volunteers helping Ukrainian guests and their hosts.
Refugee guests can live and work in the UK for up to three years.
Six to twelve months is the initial expected stay. Host families receive £450-550/month to help towards costs.
Many Stroud families have already opened their doors and have found the hosting experience an overwhelmingly positive one.
Rosanne Gaggero-Brodermann opened her home in Frampton on Severn to Anna and Kseniia: “When the Homes for Ukraine scheme was announced, it was beyond question that I would sponsor a Ukrainian family. I found Anna and her 13-year-old daughter Kseniia, and they moved into my home in May. They hit the floor running: Anna, a qualified accountant, quickly secured a job in a top firm in Stonehouse and Kseniia enrolled in school, has made friends and is thriving.
“This valorous mother and daughter had fled a war zone, left their family and friends and all that was familiar to them, and had come to a distant country to seek refuge. They threw themselves into their new lives, made new friends, discovered a new culture and embraced it all with good cheer and resolve. I am in awe of them. I feel so honoured to have given Anna and Kseniia a safe, peaceful harbour while they carve out their new lives in the country which has welcomed them so warmly.”
Rachel and Pete Andrews opened their Longney home to Lera and baby Oliviia: “We feel very privileged to have been able to share our home with Lera and baby Oliviia. We have watched Lera flourish and grow since her arrival. We have been staggered by her resilience – she has left her partner, the rest of her family and home to travel across Europe to live with people she has only met over FaceTime. It’s hard to imagine what that would feel like. When we asked Lera what she needed prior to her arrival, she just said she needed peace. Our rural community can certainly provide that. We all took a leap of faith and we are now firm friends.
“Our whole family and local friends have all embraced our guests and they now feel like a part of our family and we are hopeful that they always will. Whilst we sincerely hope that they can return to their home in more peaceful times, we know we will miss them terribly, they will forever be welcome here.”
If you have a couple of spare rooms, an annexe or second property and think you might be interested in hosting and would like to find out more, please contact:
SURCS on firstname.lastname@example.org
or Homes for Ukraine on HFUTeam@gloucestershire.gov.uk
SURCS (Stroud Ukrainian Refugee Community Support) is a volunteer community group that works to connect people, distribute information and create social events.
Homes for Ukraine (Gloucestershire County Council) take care of the official business of matching sponsors with guests and carrying out the checks required to do so.