Sheffield couple to welcome Ukrainian refugees through new government scheme

Written by Lydia Patrick

A Sheffield couple hope to welcome refugees into their home after the government announced a new scheme to help people fleeing the Ukraine war.

Homes for Ukraine will allow host families to home Ukrainian refugees, and in exchange will be given £350 a month. They are yet to release more details.

Alison Zwaard and her husband Tim Dixon-Phillip have wanted to help since the crisis struck in Ukraine. They joined icanhelp.host, a solidarity platform allowing people across Europe to open their homes to refugees.

Ms Zwaard, 63, said: “I do a bit of air bnb so I’m used to having people around. My children have grown up, we have the space and I think why not.

“These people didn’t ask to be homeless, they’re going through the most horrendous time at the moment, of uncertainty and fear. So it’s the human thing to do.”

Ms Zwaard and her husband wanted to help refugees with or without the payment. The artist added she felt 99 per cent of people in the world were good and she had no worries about letting people into her home.

She said she thought the government should run background checks on host families to ensure vulnerable people aren’t exploited.

The government said today it will announce a ‘new Homes for Ukraine’ helpline and webpage where people can register to offer accommodation and employment to Ukrainian refugees.

In response to the scheme, Enver Solomon, CEO of the Refugee Council said:This programme falls short of enabling any Ukrainian, particularly the most vulnerable such as children who are alone, to seek safety in the UK and access the full support they urgently need.”

Paul Blomfield, MP for Sheffield Central, has criticised the government’s response to accepting Ukrainian refugees up to now. 

He said: “It’s appalling that the Government’s been so reluctant to match the generosity of other countries across Europe. This is a step forward, but leaves unanswered questions. It’s important that those seeking sanctuary are given safe and good quality accommodation, so we need more detail about how they’re going to match people.”

Written by Lydia Patrick

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