Thanking the local sponsors on Ukraine Independence Day
Today, Thursday 24 August 2023, is Ukraine Independence Day. Earlier we published some interviews with Ukrainians staying with host families in Waltham Forest. Now let’s take a look at the other side of the equation by speaking with some of the sponsors who’ve taken in people fleeing the conflict.
John and Margrite Tebboth
“As soon as we learned that refugees were fleeing Ukraine, we thought we would like to offer accommodation so, as soon as the UK scheme was announced, we put our names forward. We would like to think that if we found ourselves in the same situation, others would offer us a home.
“Our guest has been with us just over a year, and it has been a great experience. Halyna quickly became part of our household and we have had a lot of fun together, as well as some sad times as she has shared the pain of leaving family and friends behind. Halyna quickly found a job and works quite long hours, but also makes time to help around the home – not because we ask her, but because she wanted to do this. She enjoys our food –and we enjoy hers. It has further broadened our experience sampling various Ukrainian dishes - mainly very nice!
“Anyone thinking of housing a refugee needs to be a bit flexible – taking a stranger into your home generally needs some adjustments – but the rewards are great and we don’t regret it at all!”
“I had space to house someone and had thought about offering it to a refugee in the past, but hadn't got further with investigating it. When Homes for Ukraine was announced, I felt strongly that it was the right thing to do - we were being asked to help and I had the space and potential to do that. I was worried about the impact on my daughter, but ultimately wanted her to learn that we should help others in need if we can.
“We hosted a mother and daughter. We all got on well. After six months I supported them to find and move into their own flat nearby. We still see each other regularly though and Sofiia, the little girl, is now a good friend of my daughter's and of her friends too.
“We now host a woman whose daughter and granddaughter came over at the start of the programme, and we had got to know locally. It's a different experience, we see less of her as she spends a lot of time with her family nearby, but she's lovely and I'm glad to be able to support her to be close to them.
“If you’re considering whether to become a host, think about it carefully. It is natural to have an emotional response to want to help, but you need to be clear that you can manage the change to your home-life and have thought about what happens next. The sense of responsibility shouldn't be underestimated, but ultimately it's brilliant if you're in a position to help someone - practically and emotionally - and it's an experience the whole family can learn from.
“I hosted a wonderful couple from Ukraine whom I had met before very briefly in the UK a few years back. It felt very good to be able to do something on a personal level in response to a global event many miles from home in Walthamstow! My family loved getting to know them and we had lots of fun and shared food and our love of gardening. Hosting enriches your life experience and my daughter was very proud of our guests. I would heartily recommend it to others and am looking forward to hosting other nationalities also.”
Support for Ukrainian refugees
You can find out more about the Homes for Ukraine scheme and how to donate to the Ukrainian Humanitarian Appeal on the council website.