Since August 2023, RMC have been delivering the full Homes for Ukraine contract on behalf of Birmingham City Council. Colin and Lucy were fantastic hosts who took in Ivanna and her 4 year old daughter.
It can be a difficult thing from both side to welcome new arrivals into your home, and to begin a life in a new country, in someone else’s home.
Ivanna is married to Petro in the military and initially wished to remain in Ukraine to see her husband when he had leave from the front. However, as the war dragged on and she noted her daughter’s increasing trauma. When the air raid sirens went off and they were required to go into the cellar, she decided on applying for a UK visa.
Moved by the invasion of Ukraine and feeling they had space in their home and could help, Colin and Lucy signed up to host a Ukrainian family. In early September this year they headed to Manchester airport to pick up Ivanna and her 4-year-old child Veronika.
RMC was awarded the Birmingham City Council’s Homes for Ukraine contract in August. This resulted in this match being one of our first hosts and guests to support. Natalia, our Ukrainian Family Support Worker, was on hand to assist with the orientation arrangements. Colin states:
“The support early on, to get started, was really important. Natalia could also be a voice for Ivanna, whose English was initially almost non-existent.”Colin
What’s it like settling into a new home?
Imagine having someone come to live in your home, or going to live in someone else’s.
RMC were on hand in the initial stages to help set boundaries for each side. It helped make sure everyone could feel comfortable and confident with how things would be.
Ivanna was a little concerned about how rigid ‘rules’ might be but commented that the tone of her hosts’ initial letter was friendly and there had been flexibility as they had established a house-share. Significantly both parties have been respectful and accommodating of each other.
Veronika was affectionately described as “a little rocket fizzing round the house” bringing energy into the home. Ivanna, on the other hand, is keen to ensure that her daughter is not too clingy and demanding.
What challenges do people face?
When asked about challenges, Lucy and Colin acknowledged that communication has sometimes been difficult (google translate is not always accurate) and occasionally there is a clash over timings in cooking or washing. However, they appreciate Ivanna’s openness to new experiences. Discovering Chinese and Indian food (not common in Ukraine) has been a hit, and Ivanna is now volunteering at a charity shop and striving to find work.
Ivanna, in turn, talked of the challenge of everything being “new and different”. She marvelled though on how quickly she and her daughter had adapted to their new environment. She is grateful for the support of RMC and her hosts and that they are safe and settled.