top of page

The experience of Ukrainians in Leeds

Updated: Jun 21, 2023

Along with organising a ‘Welcome’ event for new Ukrainian residents and their host families, I’ve been doing what I can to help Ukrainians and their host families in Leeds resolve the practical problems they face. Some of those I’ve worked with have shared their experiences in their own words.

Oleksandr, Olesya, Sofia, and Anastasia said:

a Ukrainian family here in Leeds

“We have been living in Leeds and England for almost 8 months now and feel like we are part of the community which is very important to us.

Our two daughters, Sofia and Anastasia, go to school.

One of them, Sophia, who is autistic as you know, has a special training program that seems to be quite effective.

Your support played a role in getting this place in the school.

The third, eldest daughter, Olena, is now graduating from the Kyiv Economic University (remotely) and works part-time at a local restaurant. She lives with another host family in Roundhay.

My wife, Olesya, is learning English and seems to be making progress. I am still working at my old job in a Ukrainian company as a software engineer. But I am thinking about finding a job here in Leeds, as it would be good to have a reasonable income for life here.

Our host family, Nigel and Tina Wyatt, accept us as close friends and help and support us in many ways. We really consider them our great friends. We often have meals together and also spend time together.

When we decided to participate in the program, we expected to meet people who are close in spirit and culture here. And it turned out that we were not mistaken in our expectations.

Also in Leeds, we discovered a new necessity for us and an opportunity to satisfy it – this is communication with God. We started going to church here.

Of course, there are also difficulties. For example, it turned out to be quite problematic for us to treat teeth. Also, we still do not know what to do with our Ukrainian car, the permitted period of use of which seems to be expiring here.

Another rather difficult issue is renting private housing, which our family has not yet succeeded in doing. And social housing looks like we will have to wait quite a while.

But I must admit that our main goal has been achieved here, we feel safe, our children continue to receive education, and we live among friends.

We are eternally grateful to the people of Britain and the people of Leeds in particular for the warm welcome, support, and care.”

Host families

A host family

Jalil, a family host, said:

“Myself and my family decided to host a Ukranian family under the government’s sponsorship scheme in order to be able to help a family fleeing from war and allow them to live in the UK in a safe environment.

We were very proud to be able to help a family and enjoyed being able to connect with them, get to know them and welcome them into our home. The feeling of fleeing one’s homeland is scary and lonely and we were happy we could help in our own way by doing the least we could do. It was truly a rewarding experience.

We were pleasantly surprised with the help of our local MP, Alex Sobel, who was willing to go out of his way to help this family acclimate and feel comfortable in our country by helping the father join the family when we reached out for help. I would like to thank him for his help to the people of Ukraine.”

Vaughn, a family host, said:

“I had a very positive experience. My refugees were so hard working and determined that after three months she had started a successful business and moved to London, to live and pay rent like anyone else would. I was very proud.”


bottom of page