This page is now archived. The group is still active but the activities have moved on and the need for a dedicate website is less.
Please see our home page for new contact details.

Our Community Support Pages - Ukraine to UK
Site run by volunteers in Wiltshire - Сайт, який ведуть волонтери у Вілтширі

Town Hall lit in Ukraine flag colours

An update - 19th February 2024

We are still live on Facebook at (or if you're not on Facebook, I (Graham Ellis, looking after this) can be reached via But we are in a different phase now and the applicability of a general information website for our part of Wiltshire has passed - role played successfully!

I wrote an update for a contact this afternoon - I'll quote it here to bring you up to date:

[name] has asked me to speak with you about “UMeet” and our Homes for Ukraine group covering Melksham and other tows around I’ll fill you in …

Our group was set up around 2 years ago to help introduce the significant number of people fleeing from Ukraine and looking for a safe haven but not knowing anyone in the UK TO the significant number of people in our towns who had spare rooms, wanted to help, but didn’t know anyone in Ukraine, We did a lot of matching, a lot of form filling, a lot of translation, a lot of advising (or, rather, helping people find the advise they needed - we were not experts) and result, and a result of the great kindness of many Wiltshire residents, a substantial number of “guests” (we are advised to use that word rather than refugees) reached us.

For people “landing” in our homes from Ukraine, it was a bit of a shock of a life style, language and culture changes. And for many of the hosts, it as a bit of a shock to the system. Heart said “we should help these people, and good, but the consideration from how to open bank accounts, where to learrn English, sharing bathrooms and kitchens, worryingly about people back home, setting house rule for chilren, where to find a dentist (and the list goes on) was a common theme, and a lot of the web site stuff an UMeet has to set up to provide support in us all learning and sharing experiences - not feeling lonely.

As time moved on, we became saturated with guests in Wiltshire, and these days I only encourage those with a connection or specific reason to choose Wiltshire - reserving the occasional host for the occasional extra family members or those who’s Ukrainian friends are in the area. “Randomly” (actually, it wasn’t quite random) putting people into homes in Wiltshire didn’t always work out for a long term (a guest for a week is one thing - for a month or a year it’s another) so we - with excellent help from our contact at Wiltshire Council, moved into a third role. Yes, these people have a common theme of initial vulnerability, but they have moved from being primarily UKRAINIAN people to being PEOPLE who happen to come from Ukraine. Many, perhaps most now, have moved on from their initial hosts - a variety of housing provision, including some moving away from the area because (as I suspect you’re aware) there’s a lack of rental properties around here, and landlord need persuasion to take people without established UK credit record who are here only on 3 years permission. I turns out a lot of landlords are fine if you can get past the agents!

So - my wife Lisa and I are still hosting two guests - I understand Lisa was helping one with DVLA paperwork today, and we can call on other such as John and Sharon (bcc’d on this) where we need pastoral help. And those two have been WONDERFUL with all they have done. Martin has been a huge help too, and I’m still very much in touch - on a “need be” basis with other groups like Bybrook and Bradford-on-Avon. But things have moved on. These days, I’ll often say “hello” to people I meet in the street and I know they’re guests from Ukraine, but they’re very much a part of the community here, and indeed earning a living and paying taxes here.

I am very conscious that we do have another hurdle coming up. The UK Government has said “no route to settlement” for our guests, so there lives are in Limbo in the UK until - supposedly - the war is over and they can go back and rebuild. Three years was given initially and we’re 2 years in … I am very relieved indeed that the government has just announced that guests can apply for an 18 month extension. So instead of asking the first arrivals to leave the UK by Easter next year, they can now be here until the Autumn of 2026. Still not exactly a great way to plan your life - and many / most of the guests have a wider family in Ukraine too, some husbands who are fighting, etc. My feeling personally is to keep an eye on what’s going on, support and inform where we can - there WILL be more changes for these people - these individuals … and Lisa and I know a number of them and at the least where to direct some of the more complex queries.

An update - 7th October 2022

It's a while since the last update here. There are now around 130,000 guests from Ukraine living all over the UK, with the highest concentrations in the South of England / the shire counties, where somewhere between 1 in 250 and 1 in 500 of the popuation is now from Ukraine.

Our indigenous population, and those who have arrived and been settled prior to 2022, have been wonderful in opening their hearts and, where they have space, their homes to the new arrivals who, had it not been for the war in Ukraine, would not have come here. Some of our guests fled for their lives, others in fear or because their homes in Ukraines were no longer an appropriate or safe place to survive or bring up children.

This group and its associated matching service and Facebook page started off in covering a large part of north and west Wiltshire. It was always intended to be a relatively short term project to help escape, matching and initial settlement across the area and that has largely been completed - there are still people from Ukraine looking to come here, but the supply of hosts has dried up.

We're now into a further phase, where the guests who have arrived have initially settled and received massive help from people all across the South West who opened their homes for a minimum promise of six months ... but those guests are looking to move on to become self sufficient as they were in Ukraine, and it's thrown up further (forecast) issues. The numbers who have arrived are far in excess of what was expected and systems are creaking as they try to cope.

1. Housing. There is a lack of affordable rental housing in this area, and anything that becomes available is quickly snapped up by people with a UK credit record, able to put down a deposit, and expected to stay around for a while. Those three things do not describe the typical Ukrainian guest

2. English. Most guests arrived with little or no English. Getting better in most cases, but the provision of classes the are suitable in timing, location and content has been difficult.

3. Schooling. Half of our guests are under the age of 18 - that's 2.3 time the proportion in the general population. That puts a huge burden onto the schools, espcecially as the influx of new children don't transfer from within the same (British) system and speak the same language (English) as is used to interact and teach in our shire county schools.

4. Hosting fatigue. Our hosts have been utterly generous in making rooms available - squeezing in people where they can. And there have been challenges that have perhaps grown after the initial euphoria. Hosts had their own daily lives which have been torn assunder just as the lives of arriving guests have been torn assunder, and situations that can be good in the short term become more difficult as the months pass, and stretch into the undefined future. The majority of matches work and continue to work well and can continue to do so with communication (thank goodness for translate apps) but a significant minority break down or time out.

5. Support services. Wiltshire Council was landed with an issue it had not resourced for of budgetted for because of the big number of guests, all of whom are considered vulnerable and most of whom are complex. They have been given £10,500 per guest to help, but that does not translate overnight into staff and wider resources to do what's needed and thy have struggled. Concentration has been on doing what they can for guests in crisis and leaving those guests who need support, or hosts in crisis or needing support, with no or limited help. They also have / had a duty of safeguarding for arriving and moving guests to ensure they are in what they consider safe environments, and that has been top priority.

This group, the Facebook page you'll find linked above and the original forum remain actibe to support hosts and guests and indeed there's a lot going on there. Each Wiltshire Market Town has its own community and whilst we (with a Melksham base) continue here throguh this group and cover our own meetings, courses, issues, etc, each of the other towns has its own natural organisation too, and indeed there's a cluster of things like WhatsApp groups as the Ukrainian community organises itself.

I will summarise, though, on a positive note. It is naturally the problems/issues that give rise to talk and discussion and need attention. The majority of guests and hosts are well settled and the program has been and is a saviour for guests and a rewarding and growing experience for hosts. Taking people from a war-torn country and moving them to the English Shires has worked remarkably well, largely due to human nature at an individual and also at some officialdom levels, but the numbers and stakes were so high that there were bound to be issues along the way. Risk very much worth taking, risk taken, some (but not all) predicted problems arose and we work to mitigate those risks and their effects.

A further update (here) on the blog of the author of this piece [Graham Ellis, Town Councillor in Melksham and web site admin here]

An update - 7th June 2022

Management Summary
This group was created on March 19th, and in just 11 weeks we have grown to over 1500 members on our Facebook page. We are moving forward. The bulk of matching is complete and, we are deep into settling and sorting out changes lives and life-styles. We are looking ahead to “what next”.
• Phase one - matching and visa applications
• Phase two - arrival and settling into the UK and its systems
• Phase three - What and where next?
A massive "thank you" to just about everyone involved - see here

See for a complete update and explanation

An update - 7th May 2022

We are now welcoming guests - we continue ask new hosts and new guests to register and get in touch. In addition, we are helping arrange travel, transport, meetings, helping guests learn about the UK and much, much more.

An additional form for hosts / sponsors who are already matched (and who's guests may have already arrived) has been added at where those hosts can register with us to be helped and informed about local support, meetings and so forth. All hosts are welcome, whether or not the original matching was through our group or other means.

Original page - from late March 2022

In the UK, we look forward to welcoming guests from Ukraine in coming weeks and months when you come here as a refugee from the horrendous things going on in your country.

At the time of writing, we are learning - about each other, about visa processes, and much more. Sadly, we are also learning of some of the horrors of what's happening to so many people caught in Ukraine. We in the UK extend the hand of friendship to you. We know things are not going to be easy. We can guess at some of the issues that will arise, and we know that others will crop up when we least expect them.

The forum and this site - at - is intended to be a place where people can:
* Find information or links to it
* Let us know that they have places in their homes in Wiltshire for guests
* Let us know that they would like to be guests here in Wiltshire
* Let us know that they can help in another way
* Share their experiences or information

We are already introducing potential guests to potential sponsors and some visa applications have been submitted ... proceseed ... early April very first arrivals, but mostly "in the system" and still matching. . We know it won't be easy, we know we will have some more difficult times, but we also know that it is desparately needed, and that so many of us want to do it. From early contacts, we also know how grateful our potential guests are even for our initial help.

The key person setting this up is Stuart Pearce, but - good on him - he's managing to delegate the work to teams so we can grow and handle lots and lots of people. This website and forum is being configured by Graham Ellis.

Наші сторінки підтримки спільноти – Україна – Великобританія

Оновлення – 7 травня 2022 р.

Зараз ми вітаємо гостей – продовжуємо просити нових господарів та нових гостей зареєструватися та зв’язатися. Крім того, ми допомагаємо організувати подорожі, транспорт, зустрічі, допомагаємо гостям дізнатися про Великобританію та багато-багато іншого.

На додано додаткову форму для господарів/спонсорів, які вже підійшли (і чиї гості, можливо, вже прибули), де ці хости можуть зареєструватися у нас, щоб отримати допомогу та інформацію про місцеву підтримку , зустрічі тощо. Ласкаво просимо всіх господарів, незалежно від того, о
початкове відповідність було здійснено через нашу групу чи іншим способом.

Початкова сторінка – з кінця березня 2022 року

Ласкаво просимо на нашу домашню сторінку http//

Будь ласка, перейдіть за цим посиланням на форум та інформаційний ресурс

У Великобританії ми з нетерпінням чекаємо гостей з України в найближчі тижні та місяці, коли ви приїдете сюди як притулок від жахливих речей, що відбуваються у вашій країні.

На момент написання статті ми дізнаємося – один про одного, про візові процеси та багато іншого. На жаль, ми також дізнаємося про деякі жахіття того, що відбувається з такою кількістю людей, яких спіймали в Україні. Ми у Великобританії простягаємо вам руку дружби. Ми знаємо, що все буде непросто. Ми можемо здогадуватися про деякі проблеми, які виникнуть, і ми знаємо, що інші з’являться, коли ми найменше цього очікуємо.

Форум і цей сайт - за адресою - призначені для того, щоб люди могли:
* Знайдіть інформацію або посилання на неї
* Повідомте нам, що у них є місця в будинках у Вілтширі для гостей
* Повідомте нам, що вони хотіли б бути гостями тут, у Вілтширі
* Повідомте нам, що вони можуть допомогти іншим чином
* Поділіться своїм досвідом чи інформацією

Ми вже знайомимо потенційних гостей із потенційними спонсорами, а заявки на отримання візи подані. На момент написання статті (24.3.2022) деякі з них очікують відповіді від уряду Великобританії – ми оновлюватимемо на цьому сайті в міру подачі заявок. Далі ми будемо розглядати подорожі, прибуття, поселення та далі. Ми знаємо, що це буде нелегко, ми знаємо, що у нас будуть ще складні часи, але ми також знаємо, що це вкрай необхідно, і що багато з нас хочуть цього зробити. З перших контактів ми також знаємо, наскільки вдячні наші потенційні гості навіть за першу допомогу.

Ключовою особою, яка налаштовує це, є Стюарт Пірс, але – добре йому – він керує цим, делегує роботу командам, щоб ми могли розвиватися та працювати з великою кількістю людей. Цей веб-сайт і форум налаштовує Грем Елліс (і я пишу це), і я також додам інші імена.