Ukrainian family thanks Wiltshire for “security and safety” on anniversary of invasion

COMMUNITIES across Wiltshire will be marking the second anniversary of the invasion in Ukraine today (February 24).

February 24 marks two years months since the Russian invasion in Ukraine began.

Since the Homes for Ukraine scheme was announced by the government, more than 1,600 Ukrainian guests have arrived in Wiltshire, with 405 still in active sponsorship.

More than 600 have now moved into independent accommodation, moved out of Wiltshire, or returned to the Ukraine.

Maryna Sokolyk arrived with her two children as part of the Homes 4 Ukraine scheme, not knowing where she would be living or who she would be living with.

After being met at the airport by her sponsors, she was provided a home in Wiltshire.

With support from caseworkers, Maryna’s children were enrolled into nursery and school and her family started integrating into the local community.

She moved into an LAHF properties in July 2023, with the assistance of the Moving on Grant.

Supported by the Homes for Ukraine caseworkers, she has been helped to access wraparound support, enrol the children into new schools and arrange school transport.

“Standing on the ruins of my old life, I found support that I did not expect and a chance to start a new life, but to feel the security and safety of the family is worth a lot,” she said.

Cllr Richard Clewer, leader of Wiltshire Council, said: “This will be a difficult anniversary to mark for those who have had to uproot their families and start new lives in different countries and cultures.

“With the generosity and goodwill of the people of Wiltshire, we were one of the top local authorities, welcoming over 1,600 guests into Wiltshire.

“Now that a lot of those families are choosing to settle in Wiltshire, our teams, communities and partners are working hard to support them either within the Homes for Ukraine scheme or to transition into independent accommodation.

“We have been able to use the government Local Authority Housing Fund (LAHF) to purchase 26 houses specifically to support Ukrainian households. 21 of these houses are now occupied, with caseworkers providing support to the families to integrate into their new communities and access childcare, utilities and transport.”

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