Homes for Ukraine Information Evening

Posted on: Thursday, May 26, 2022

Newark and Sherwood District Council held a Homes for Ukraine Information Evening on Tuesday 24 May for sponsors and guests within the district who have registered with the government’s resettlement scheme.

The event at Castle House provided 99 attendees with information and advice from local organisations, community groups and partner agencies to support with resettling families within Newark and Sherwood. This included agencies and services such as the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), Newark & Sherwood Community and Voluntary Service (CVS), Active4Today and Newark College.

It was an opportunity for people to have an informal chat and build local connections.  

Councillor David Lloyd, Leader of Newark and Sherwood District Council, said: “It’s fantastic that families have been able to get together while receiving extra assistance from local services.

“Those fleeing the conflict have been through the pain and agony of being forced to leave their homes and it’s something that no person should ever have to experience. We want to do all we can to assist families who have stepped up to take care of people who have had to leave their country in fear for their lives.”

Host Sue Greatorex, who lives near Tuxford with her partner Robert Neervoort, said: “My partner said if we were in Poland we would take people in. Then we heard the UK government were allowing people to take those fleeing the conflict in so we said we would do it.

“The experience has been a rollercoaster. It took a couple of weeks to find the family we are hosting but they are now here! When they arrived, we just had a big cuddle with them. We face-timed them so much during the four weeks to get them here that we felt we knew each other anyway.

“The worst part is when they were describing hearing the bombs going off during the night and they would say ‘didn’t have a good night last night as we could hear the explosions’ and you just want to get them to the UK as quickly as possible.

“I would definitely recommend taking in a Ukrainian family if you have the resources and the room to host them. I’ve met some lifelong friends, including people that live in the district who I never knew before.

“The District Council has really taken this on board well; I’ve been on two or three zoom meetings where they’ve asked for our opinion as sponsors and this event is something we suggested and they’ve done it so they are really good to their word.”

Host Sarah Wood, who lives in Winthorpe with her husband Ian Knight, said: “We felt passionately about the cause and searched for someone who could fit in our lives. We found a mother and son and she’s a doctor and her son is a medical student; they’ve been with us for ten days now.

“Prior to their arrival we felt that we needed somehow to get the sponsors into a group that mirrored the local authority areas. There’s lots of Facebook groups but it’s not helpful if you’re speaking to someone in Liverpool or Brighton, as you really want local support.

“I set up a localised group alongside fellow host Sue Greatorex and I think people can be quick to complain, but they are never quick to say when things go well. Both Sue and I have been very positive about Newark and Sherwood District Council; we think they’ve done a really good job so far and I’ve not heard anything negative said about them.

“We originally wanted events just for the sponsors but then the District Council suggested we invite guests and I think it’s great not just for the sponsors but the guests can start making contact and networking with people in similar situations to them.

“My guest left home to go to a medical conference for three days and she hasn’t been home since because her town was invaded. It’s really upsetting and that’s why local support is important as you’re looking after vulnerable and traumatised people who would have experienced a whole range of different things - not only in what happened in causing them to leave, but their journey to get to us

“When they arrived they were in tears. There were tears on both sides. I hope I’ve made a positive difference. I see the appreciation from our guests and I’m sure that’s reflected in many other households. Our local MP’s office has been superb and really helped lots of guests.

“It’s a real team effort. I spoke to somebody who said they were in desperate need for generators in Ukraine, so Sue made some enquiries and all of a sudden we have 30 generators which have been shipped to Ukraine. I spoke to someone else who said they had a young lad who’s into football and he wants to make friends. Then Collingham Football Club said they’d happily have him at football training and he’s training there now. Communities are really coming together and showing their strength.”

Newark and Sherwood has seen the highest number of applications for the scheme within Nottinghamshire. Not only does the District Council organise events like this but they play a major role in scheme delivery, including completing accommodation checks and supporting families once guests arrive in the UK.  More than 90 hosts within the district have applied to the scheme, in addition to a significant number of registered expressions of interests.

If you are hosting a Ukrainian guest or family, or for more information, visit: www.newark-sherwooddc.gov.uk/health-and-wellbeing/advice-for-residents/homes-for-ukraine-/