Cornwall Council’s resettlement service is launching a campaign to recruit 100 new hosts to support families fleeing the ongoing war in Ukraine.
Since Vladimir Putin’s full-scale invasion in February 2022, Cornwall has welcomed more than 1,200 Ukrainian refugees - predominantly women and children - as part of the Homes for Ukraine programme.
David Kitley, who has hosted a Ukrainian family at his home in Redruth for the past year and a half, said:
“It feels like I have been given a new family – one from whom I have learned so much.”
“As someone living on my own it has been a privilege to be able to offer up my spare rooms to give a home to a young family in real need. Being a host has definitely enriched my life.”
David is not the only one who has found being a host a hugely rewarding experience.
Pernille Johansen, a nurse in Truro, said:
“These last two years have been tough for everyone but for Ukrainians more than anyone. When I first met my guests they were still traumatised from missile strikes and life underground – but we soon settled down and soon it was literally like having good friends staying.
“It’s such a wonderful opportunity to help people who are in an awful situation through no fault of their own.”
Many refugees have since relocated to other parts of the UK or other countries to reunite with loved ones but there remain just under 600 Ukrainians in Cornwall.
More than 300 Cornish residents, including David and Pernille, have already opened their doors to offer accommodation to the Ukrainian arrivals.
Many have agreed to extend their initial commitments of six or 12 months, but as the war in Ukraine intensifies and people’s lives change, the numbers of Ukrainians needing accommodation in Cornwall increases.
Serena Collins, strategic lead for the council’s resettlement service, said:
“As the war in Ukraine continues, and as the situations change for current hosts and their Ukrainian guests due to employment, school placements, local connections and other circumstances, such as the arrival of older generations coming to join their families already settled here, there is a growing need for homes with two or more rooms available for Ukrainian families.
“We are therefore launching a campaign to recruit 100 new hosts across Cornwall so that we can continue to support Ukrainians in Cornwall and those who due to intensifying winter conditions will flee the warzone in need of accommodation.”
Cllr Linda Taylor, Leader of Cornwall Council, said:
“I am hugely grateful to all our community sponsors, and on behalf of Cornwall I would like to thank you for your generosity and hard work supporting refugees.
“The way in which our communities have welcomed families and individuals from Ukraine makes me incredibly proud and I know we will continue to help however we can.”
As well as the human rewards such as companionship and help around the home, hosts can benefit from thankyou payments within Cornwall of £500 per month, and a range of support from Cornwall’s Resettlement Service and national agencies.
To find out more about becoming a host, visit the Council's Homes for Ukraine web page.