Originally from Zhytomyr in the north-west of Ukraine, Yaroslav, his mother and their pet chinchilla, Bybysik, arrived in the UK in April 2022. They were hosted initially in Newcastle upon Tyne and Cornwall, before moving to East Herts in October.
Councillor Jonathan Kaye said: ‘We are committed to supporting refugees through the government’s Homes for Ukraine programme. In the last twelve months, 204 adults and 124 children have settled in East Herts and we are incredibly grateful to all the sponsors that have come forward.
‘To date, East Herts Council has been responsible for carrying out 189 checks of the safety of accommodation offered by local hosts. Officers have provided practical advice and support and I’m pleased that this has led to all but five hosts making their homes available.’
Reflecting on the last year, Yaroslav said: ‘I would like to thank the United Kingdom, Ukraine’s Big Friend, for the help and support it has given the Ukrainian people. This support comes not just from the UK government but from ordinary British citizens. We appreciate this help and support in these very hard times. I would like to use the words of Winston Churchill in saying ‘we will never give up’. Thank you for standing by Ukraine.’
If residents can offer a home to people fleeing Ukraine, they can become a sponsor as part of the Homes for Ukraine scheme. Further information is available at: www.gov.uk/register-interest-homes-ukraine