A website to connect host families in the UK with Ukrainian refugees has launched, in response to the humanitarian crisis and the growing frustration of host families in the UK who signed up for the ‘Homes for Ukraine’ scheme.
The non-commercial and not-for-profit site – HomesforUkrainians.co.uk – has been created to solve issues being experienced with the Government scheme by a small group of tech entrepreneurs with considerable experience of launching corporate websites, including Jaguar Land Rover and Honda.
Built in line with the highest security standards to be ‘hacker proof’ amid fears of Russian cyber attacks and fully translated at the click of a button between English and Ukrainian, the website is the first dedicated site for UK hosts willing to act as Sponsors under the Government scheme to connect to refugees. It allows hosts to list their homes and connect to refugees quickly without requiring users to give away personal contact details, removing complexities experienced elsewhere.
Following the launch of the ‘Homes for Ukraine’ scheme, which allows Ukrainian nationals to come to the UK for up to three years, over 150,000 UK citizens have signed up to offer accommodation. However, applicants need to apply on behalf of a named Ukrainian national they will be hosting. This has led to frustration, as currently, hosts have no means of making public their offer of accommodation or establishing contact with refugees seeking shelter.
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Homesforukrainians.co.uk enables UK hosts to list their offer of accommodation. Refugees search the site and identify suitable offers based on their needs and circumstances and are then able to message the host directly and establish contact in a secure way. It is then the responsibility for the host and refugees to decide whether there is a suitable fit and apply for a visa.
Co-founder Hedley Aylott said, “We are already connecting refugees with families within hours of going live. This website absolutely supports the Government scheme, filling a missing link in the chain by enabling direct contact between host and refugee. We want to make sure Ukrainians fleeing their country from this appalling humanitarian disaster are aware and can access the amazing support being offered in the UK by potential host families. We’ve got to do more to help and faster.”
The initiative and website has been set up by technology entrepreneur Hedley Aylott, who lives in Yorkshire, and experienced founder and CTO Zdenek Burda from the Czech Republic, both of whom work in digital media and e-commerce industries, alongside a Ukrainian tech professional who has chosen to remain anonymous.