When the news came onto our TV screens that Ukraine families were fleeing their country during the first weeks of the war and need accommodation, the Great British public once again rose to the occasion. As a nation we are world class at supporting a good cause.
But although there have been many generous, caring people out there who have put their spare room or annex up for consideration, the bottom line is, a room isn’t enough – families need space. Only a small percentage of the 200,000 rooms registered on the Government portal have actually been taken up. That’s why Bewley decided to provide a house for a Ukraine family.
But it wasn’t easy to get a match. Frustrated by the red tape, we found a way of short circuiting the system and we decided to do our own publicity to make things happen.
Our story was published by a local paper and read by a Ukrainian born lady who lives with her English husband and son in Whitchurch, Hampshire. Lesya was desperate to help bring her parents and brother from one of the worst affected cities in the country and was in the process of organising a relative’s visa. It was an ideal match as our house was in the same village. The stars were aligning.
Her family could have moved in with her but Lesya lives in a small flat so it would have been very cramped.
We have now moved Lesya’s family into our home and organised new furniture and everything you need for a tenancy lease and in the process helped reunite a family who were in crisis. We have agreed to pay all utility bills and council tax while the family live in our property. As you would imagine they are very grateful.
The feedback from our staff has been overwhelming and very heart-warming. But we didn’t do it for the PR – we did it because we could.
We only decided to share this story because it might encourage other housebuilders reading this article do the same and follow our lead. I do hope so.