Appeal for people to come forward and host Ukrainian refugees

Anna Beznosenko and Sue Nicol (inset) have been matching Ukrainian refugees and host families for the last eigh

Anna Beznosenko and Sue Nicol (inset) have been matching Ukrainian refugees and host families for the last eight weeks, but need more host families to come forward - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown/Sue Nicols

A woman from Suffolk and a Ukrainian refugee are working together to try and get more host families for refugees.

Sue Nicol, 62, from Capel Saint Mary, and Anna Beznosenko, 37, from Kyiv, originally Crimea, have been working to sort visas and host families for refugees trying to flee Ukraine in the midst of the Russian invasion.

They are trying to get more hosts to come forward and offer their home to Ukrainians, so that they can support more people.

Through the Homes for Ukraine sponsorship scheme there have been, as of June 14, a total of 665 arrivals in the UK by sponsor location, with 994 visas being issued out of 1,126 applied for.

The town hall in Ipswich with the Ukrainian colours lighting the front

The town hall in Ipswich with the Ukrainian colours lighting the front - Credit: Timothy Bradford

Sue Nicol, one of the organisers, said: "We are getting so many requests from Ukrainians, we have a great system, we just need more accommodation for them.

"I am a second generation refugee so it is really close to my heart. I feel strongly we have to help these people"

Anna, who works with Sue at finding families, arrived in Hadleigh, just eight weeks ago, and has been working since to help others get to the UK.

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Sue said: "Anna being Ukrainian, is able to speak to potential matches in their native language, so we know exactly what their expectations are, and then we set up group chats with potential hosts and make sure everyone is happy before we proceed with the visa.

"We then help all the way along with the obtaining of the visa because that can be a difficult thing to do.

"I got another two accommodation requests when I went to a meeting in Hadleigh, and they were saying that they were waiting for the government.

Anna Beznosenko (left) and Sue Nicols (right) have been working to match hosts and Ukrainian's together for the

Anna Beznosenko (left) and Sue Nicols (right) have been working to match hosts and Ukrainian's together for the last eight weeks since Anna arrived in Suffolk - Credit: Sue Nicols

"The government aren't actually doing anything though. I am sorry to say but it seems like they don't want them here in the country.

"They told people to register their homes but they haven't really helped re-matching. People have just sat and waited and nothing has happened.

"It is only people like Anna and I around the country that is actually making this work."

Sue is encouraging people to talk to them about hosting, even if it is a consideration.

She said: "If you are waiting for the government - don't. We can do it.

"People have said that the refugees are enriching their lives and made lifelong friends through it.

Sue and Anna are asking for more host families to offer their homes to help Ukrainian refugees.

Sue and Anna are asking for more host families to offer their homes to help Ukrainian refugees. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

"Anna will be my lifelong friend and I have only known her for eight weeks."

If you are considering becoming a host, go to this Facebook page.