Letters: My experience as a sponsor in the Homes for Ukraine scheme

A Ukrainian woman with young children crosses the Ukraine/Romania border at Siret
A Ukrainian woman with young children crosses the Romanian border at Siret

Dear editor,

My name is Melanie Berthier and I have been living in Bedford for almost five years.

I regularly read your paper and I thought I should reach out to you to let you know about my experience as a sponsor in the Homes for Ukraine scheme.

As you may already know, this sponsorship scheme is a nightmare for both Ukrainian refugees and sponsors (although it is of course a lot harder for Ukrainians who are hoping to come to the UK).

Email sign up form: https://www.bedfordindependent.co.uk/newsletter-sign-up/The system has many problems with documents disappearing, lack of communication, long delays, notifications not sent, etc.

The only way to check on an application is through your MP as they are the only ones who have access to the Home Office to check if an application has been correctly received or not.

I am lucky that the family I sponsored received their visas on Friday and will travel on Tuesday but many people who applied before me are still stuck in limbo.

I contacted our MP Mohammad Yasin (Bedford & Kempston, Labour) who has been fantastic during the entire process – his help has been extremely valuable.

The Borough and the local Support for Ukraine team have also been very supportive and I feel grateful to all of them for what they have done and are still doing. Not everyone is as lucky as us, so it is worth mentioning it.

My objective in writing to you today is to share a message, which I hope will be relayed to the rest of Bedford: The process to host Ukrainian refugees may not be a smooth one, but it is definitely worth it and I hope that many more Bedfordians will open the door of their homes to those who need it if they can.

I hope that with your help, we can bring awareness to the topic.

Thank you very much for taking the time to read this email.

Kind regards,

Melanie Berthier
Lansdowne Road

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