Hundreds of Leicestershire families support Ukrainians fleeing war

More than 500 Leicestershire families have hosted Ukrainian guests

Ukrainian guests with their Leicestershire hosts

More than 500 Leicestershire families have opened their hearts and homes to Ukrainian families since the start of conflict. 
 
The county has become a safe space for refugees fleeing war, with families connecting over simple things like food, Netflix and sharing daily routines. 
 
Tomorrow (Saturday) marks two years since the Russian invasion of Ukraine and a big thank you has been offered to all the residents who have welcomed guests into their homes and lives. 

The response here in Leicestershire has truly been heart-warming with families opening-up their homes and showing real humanity and compassion.

We also know that some life-long relationships have been made through these connections. We cannot emphasise enough the very real difference this has made; We’d like to offer a huge thank-you to all of our wonderful hosts. 

 We are still in need of more families to help out, so if this is something you’re interested in, please do get in touch.

 Lea and her partner Sam have been supporting Yana and her daughter Eva (6) from Dnipro. 
 
Lea said: “Our story is different to most, as Yana and Eva had already been in the UK for several months and were quite settled with another wonderful family.  
 
“We were contacted by the council as Yana was advised to move closer to Leicester for her medical needs. We were both surprised by how little we needed to think about the decision – it all seemed quite straight forward, and the matching coordinator of the council was with us every step of the way.” 
 
She added that the families bonded through activities such as cooking together, watching Netflix (with subtitles), doing their nails together and sharing pictures.  
 
She added: “We love to cook and so we were so pleased when Yana offered to cook us some meals. She makes the most amazing and hearty Ukrainian dishes and desserts. For my birthday she brought a traditional Ukrainian honey cake as well, which was delicious.” 
 
Communication was initially achieved via smart language apps and a few basic words, but Yana has made great headway with English thanks to a course organised by the council. 
 
She said: “It was mentally difficult for me to start living in another country. People and the state provide enormous support for which we are very grateful.
 
“It’s very different from Ukraine, there are other people, other food, other life. The sociability and openness of people is amazing. Complete strangers can say hello to you, everyone smiles at each other.  
 
“It is a big and noble decision to welcome complete strangers into your home. Not everyone can decide to take such a step.” 
 
Lea added that her message to would-be hosts is: “Don’t overthink it! If your experience is anything like ours you will make new friends, experience a new culture from your own home and be able to help someone who will be forever grateful.” 
 
If you live in Leicestershire and would like to know more about hosting a Ukrainian family, including available support, payments and information about the process, visit our Support for Ukraine page. 

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