6th July 2022 | Lieutenancy News

Farnham Homes for Ukraine

In Churt seven families have signed up for the Homes for Ukraine Scheme. The group have their own website: Home | Churt Homes 4 Ukrain (churtforukraine.org) and are also drawing for advice from the excellent Farnham Homes for Ukraine website, which is in both English and Ukrainian (Farnham Homes For Ukraine | Accommodation, Matching and Support (fhfu.org)  A mother and her 10 year old son, were the first to arrive on Tuesday 26th April and are staying with Rob Douglas DL and his wife Hilary.

Deputy Lieutenant Rob reports:

‘It took time for our guests to receive their visas. We asked our MP, Jeremy Hunt, to intervene and he was very helpful. I am sure that his interventions made a difference as the visa approvals came through very quickly after he wrote. The other Ukrainians whom our fellow Churt sponsors are hoping to receive are only getting their visas through in dribs and drabs. One more family has arrived since. I think that from our experience we will have some very traumatised people arriving

Our Ukrainian was, and is, physically and emotionally exhausted, and torn between wanting to keep her son safe here and to be with her husband back in Kyiv. She drove here, so has her own car and has a close Ukrainian friend in Frensham (it was via that friend that we were introduced to our ‘guest’) from whom she is receiving a lot of help, so that all makes things easier for us. Nevertheless, it is clear that we have an important role to make sure that she feels really safe and has the space to recover physically and emotionally. We were the first to receive our refugees in the Churt group and so our experience was a bit of a pilot for everyone else. Another family has now arrived nearby.

The 10 year old son is more relaxed – so long as he has WiFi  and is fed, he seems happy! We are finding him youngsters with whom he can play football. We are planning to get him into a local school but in the meantime his school in Kyiv is providing a full suite of daily lessons on-line.

Their next task is to get their biometric residence permits. They have applied on line and now have to go in person to a Home Office location. The nearest sites are Reading, Croydon and Southampton!! They are going to go to Croydon.

We also need to be inspected by Waverley Borough Council. They have to check that our house is suitable and also give us DBS checks. These are special checks under the scheme and our existing DBS checks are not acceptable.

We have found a wonderful App called SayHi which we now have on all our phones. It does immediate voice translation and has let us have some quite deep conversations. Our guests do not speak English but have a few words. In addition we find we are using some French (the boy goes to the French international school  in Kyiv), some German (the mother did German at school), Russian (my Russian O level from 57 years ago) and Ukrainian (my efforts in Duolingo). Actually, that is all fun.

Overall, it is going well and we are all getting on. However, it really brings home how shocking this is and how this war has turned the lives of so many people totally upside down’

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