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How to Welcome Ukrainian Refugees into Your Home

07 06 22

Aisling White, Head of Service Delivery for Supported Accommodation at Bedspace

 

If you are one of the many families choosing to welcome Ukrainian refugees into your home, there are many things to consider to help make the process as smooth and comfortable as possible for both you and the Ukrainians that you are hosting.

 

At Bedspace we have worked with asylum seekers for over 20 years – in fact, it is why we initially set up in 1999. From our years of experience working to house and provide support to transform the lives of vulnerable people such as asylum seekers, we have come up with some top tips to help you through the process of hosting a Ukrainian individual or family. 

 

Privacy and Adapting Routines

The first thing to remember is that both you and the Ukrainian family you are hosting will appreciate privacy. Make space in the kitchen for the family, giving them their own cupboards and fridge shelves, and create a rota with different time slots for cooking. This will prevent you from constantly running into each other and will make both families feel more respected and autonomous. 

 

Similarly, cultural or religious differences may make bathroom sharing problematic, so having a bathroom rota with different slots to bathe your children will be useful. Simple things like providing sanitary products, towels and toiletries will also help to make the refugees feel at home.

 

Being Sensitive to the Ukrainian’s Situation

It is important to respect the difficult situation that the Ukrainians will be in. Being sensitive about the news and media in the house and giving the family control of the news and radio will avoid putting them in triggering or uncomfortable situations. Also, the Red Cross tracing and messaging services can help locate people in war-torn countries, so this is worth mentioning if families have lost loved ones.

 

Using google translate can aid with language barriers, and finding global stores that sell Ukrainian food or Ukrainian sections of supermarkets will ease the cultural barriers too. Simply asking the family about their religious needs and letting them know where their local place of worship or Ukrainian community centres are will allow them to establish themselves in a community. Finding a sense of belonging away from home is especially important for displaced people.

 

Setting Up for Life in the UK

The Homes for Ukraine scheme will allow the refugees to stay in the UK for up to 3 years. Therefore, it is important to help the people you are hosting to set up for life in the UK as soon as possible. Applying for a National Insurance number early on will help the Ukrainians find employment or claim benefits, and the children will need to be placed in schools. Also, immediately registering with doctors and dentists will be important.

 

Finally, providing the Ukrainians with the necessary information and resources for life in the UK will be essential. Give people information on how to contact emergency services, and  information about the local area, local support workers and charities, and organisations that can deliver support.

 

 

Photo Credit:

Left 1 - Creator: LOUISA GOULIAMAKI | Credit: AFP via Getty Images

Left 2 - Creator: NIKOLAY DOYCHINOV | Credit: AFP via Getty Images

Mid - Credit: Alamy Stock Photo | Copyright: Credit: Avpics / Alamy Stock Photo

Right 1 - Creator: LOUISA GOULIAMAKI | Credit: AFP via Getty Images

Right 2 - Credit: Shutterstock Copyright: Copyright (c) 2022 Bumble Dee/Shutterstock