New Forest Homes for Ukraine helping hosts applying to accommodate refugees navigate the visa process
A NEWLY launched group matching New Forest hosts with Ukrainian refugees is appealing to local residents with spare rooms to get in touch.
New Forest Homes for Ukraine (NFHU) was set up by Alla Yeates, from Brockenhurst, who moved to the UK from Ukraine more than 20 years ago.
The group aims to facilitate the government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme by putting hosts and Ukrainians seeking refuge in touch with each other and to complete the visa application together.
NFHU has matched or helped to match 65 refugees with 24 New Forest families, a couple of whom have hosted groups of five or six.
Virginia Darley, who leads the process, said: “Often potential sponsors, having registered an interest in the government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme, are completely unaware that it is up to them to identify the specific Ukrainian family they will house.”
The group, which boasted the backing of New Forest East MP Julian Lewis, is also coordinating support for both hosts and their guests through existing local community groups, parish and town councils, local libraries and primary care providers.
According to government figures, 44 visas have been issued to refugees to stay with hosts in the New Forest. Hampshire has granted 357.
Across Christchurch, Bournemouth and Poole, 84 visas have been issued, with 114 residents registering to host refugees.
Businesses in Christchurch are being urged by BCP Council to come forward with job offers for Ukrainian refugees arriving in the region.
Bournemouth Airport, care home owners and many other firms have already offered employment, and the council is now urging more to get in touch. Businesses people who would like to make an offer of employment are asked to eEmail firstname.lastname@example.org
In Bransgore, villagers are organising a spring fete in aid of Ukraine on Saturday 23rd April.
All proceeds will go to New Forest for Ukraine, a group of volunteers working to collect and ship donations directly to refugees.
The group has been busy creating 600 Easter boxes for child refugees in Poland, filled with treats such as soft toys, chocolate eggs and colouring books.
Many local schools joined the initiative, with pupils writing cards to go inside.
Donations are needed for the group’s next trip out delivering urgently needed items to refugees. Go to www.newforestforukraine.co.uk