More Homes Needed in East Sussex for Ukraine

Ukrainian people still need our help – that is the message from East Sussex County Council as Ukraine marks two years since the start of the full-scale invasion.

With Ukrainians still being forced to flee their homes, and those already in the county looking for settled accommodation, residents are being asked to consider becoming a host family for those seeking refuge.

Since the beginning of the conflict in February 2022, more than 800 host families have welcomed over 1800 guests to the county, with local groups and organisations providing support and services to help them settle and achieve independence. Hosts have played an invaluable role in helping Ukrainian guests to build an independent life in this country.

Appalled by the situation in Ukraine, actress Kathryn Pogson was initially unsure about opening up her home but felt it would be the right thing to do.

“If the situation were different and my grown-up children needed refuge, I’d be really sad if nobody could offer help,” she said.

“There are challenges when you invite a stranger into your home. There is that whole idea of it being a stranger, and I suppose one of the most challenging aspects is language. I don’t speak any Ukrainian, but we got by with a lot of hand waving and gestures and with her reasonable grasp of English – we sort of managed and it became funnier rather than a problem.

“You can’t follow a pattern, you have to take on board the human being that’s joined you and find your way together. You just need a bit of patience and kindness.”

Kathryn added: “I have been impressed by the Home for Ukraine scheme.  If I needed anything Homes for Ukraine were very good at helping and they set up lots of social things for guests to get involved with. It’s a really well-balanced, well-run scheme.”

While some Ukrainian guests are new arrivals to the county, others have already started to build a life in East Sussex and have jobs and children at local schools.

Cllr Keith Glazier, leader of East Sussex County Council, said: “We can’t begin to imagine how difficult life has been for Ukrainian people over the past two years – being forced to flee for their own safety, leaving behind family, friends, and possessions.

“It’s wonderful to have seen East Sussex open its heart and welcome so many guests over the past two years, but there are still so many people who need our help – not only those who are new to the county, but those who have started to build a life here and need support to create a stable life for them and their families.

“Becoming a host family can be extremely rewarding and I would encourage anyone able to offer a home or spare room to find how they can help.”

More information about the scheme can be found at https://www.eastsussex.gov.uk/community/supporting-refugees/ukraine/could-you-provide-a-safe-home-for-ukrainian-guests, alternatively residents wanting to find out more can email ukraine@eastsussex.gov.uk or call the advice line between 10am and 4pm, Monday to Friday on 01273 337010.

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