Bolton School Girls’ Division Newspaper


Hosting a Family of Ukrainian Refugees

I’m sure you are all aware of what is currently happening in Ukraine due to the Russian invasion. The conflict has caused around 12 million people to flee their homes.  Over 5.6 million people have fled to neighbouring countries such as Poland, Romania and Moldova, and some have even crossed the black sea to go to Turkey.  Others are taking refuge in countries far away, such as the UK.


In early March, my family decided we wanted to take in some refugees, so we began searching to see if anyone was interested in coming to England. Eventually, my mother came across a group on Facebook. She felt to passionately about helping out because she knew how difficult it must be for the Ukrainians and she simply wanted to do all that she could.

This group was for people trying to find homes in Bolton to take refuge in. After being accepted into the group, we were truly shocked as to how many people were forced to leave their home country. We saw married couples, whole families and even mothers with babies trying to leave.  

Soon, a family reached out to us. In this family was a 36-year-old mother with two young boys aged 12 and 4. After a couple messages sent through Google translate, we collectively decided that they should come to stay in our house. 


When we made this decision, we had no idea how long they were going to stay; it could be anywhere from 6 months to 3 years! But regardless of timing, we wanted them to live with us. 

However, despite the fact that they were refugees, there were still the same rules in place they had to obey in order to leave the country.  

First, we had to apply for the visas. Applying for visas was a very long and hard process, which consisted of three lots of visas, and triple the amount of work! Applying for the visas was without a doubt time consuming and difficult, but this was not the only obstacle in the application process…

To get visas, the children had to get their own passports. This meant that they had to go to a passport centre in Poland! The only way to get to Poland was by shuttle bus. It was a long drive to Poland, 8 hours in fact, with a 4-year-old as well! But eventually, they got there. Once they got there it was late at night so they stayed in a hotel. The next day, they went to the passport centre and got the passports.  

This meant that we had to apply for the visas AGAIN!  

Waiting for the visas to be accepted was frustrating. It took us one month to get the visas accepted which we thought was despicable. During this wait, Ukraine was having more and more attacks, and therefore it was getting increasingly dangerous for citizens. The fact that they had to wait so long could have been fatal.  


Finally, they got on a plane and came to England. This was both stressful and exciting at the same time. Trying to learn basic Ukrainian words and preparing for their arrival was a challenge at first but got easier as time passed. 

Now, they have been living with us for 3 weeks and it is smooth sailing. Cooking Ukrainian food together and showing them the town is all part of the fun.  In the future, I think it will still be going as great as it is now. It will be as if they are completely part of the family. 

There are still plenty of Ukrainians looking to take refuge in England and it is a truly heartwarming and fun thing to do. I would say to anybody who is even considering hosting a a family that it is a great choice and lots of fun. It is not too late to take in a family and I’m sure that they will enjoy it as much as you will. 

By Alice Nielson

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