Lockerbie family taking in family of refugees who fled Ukraine

A Lockerbie couple are taking in a family of Ukrainian refugees who fled their home following the invasion by Russian troops.

Stuart and Helen King will be welcoming Olena Krasovskaya and her children, Polina and Nikita.

The trio are currently in a holding center in Poland waiting for visas to be granted to allow them to come to Scotland.

As soon as the process is approved, the family will make their way to Lockerbie where they will live for at least six months.

Helen said: “Olena Krasovskaya, who was a dentist in Ukraine, is coming to live with us with her two children aged 12 and 14.

“She has been forced to leave behind her oldest son who is 21 to fight the Russians.

“It’s absolutely heartbreaking for her. I ca n’t imagine boys like this having to stand against an invading army and the terrible decision she had to make from her to leave him to save her two other children from her.

“We are so fortunate not to have to face decisions like these. The only decision we have to make is if we can help them.

“When war broke out, Stuart said to me that when the time comes, we will take in refugees and I immediately set about trying to find out how we could do that.”

The couple were put in contact with a woman who set up the Glasgow group of the Homes for Ukraine scheme, which matches families fleeing the country with families here volunteering to take them in.

Helen said: “I got a call saying they had a family for us and needed to know there and then if we’d take them and I agreed straight away,”

Olena and her family are coming to Lockerbie from Ukraine

After contacting Olena through WhatsApp, Helen and Stuart found out the family are currently sleeping on camp beds on the floor of a holding center in Warsaw with very little food available,

Helen added: “We’re just looking forward to getting them here now although we’ve no idea when it might be,

“When you commit to being a sponsor, it really is a big commitment.

“You have to agree to have the family with you for a minimum of six months and there’s a lot more criteria you need to meet.

“But we’ve got plenty of space for them here and it’s a beautiful place for them to come to.

“The kids will need to go to school and Olena is determined to work while she’s here.

“Who knows how long they’ll end up here for because they’ll have nothing to go home to for a long time to come.”

Stuart added: “Due to the overwhelming positive support and comments we’ve received, Helen and I decided that it might be helpful to offer similar support to others who wish to sponsor or support Ukrainian families.

“We’ve now set up a Homes for Ukraine matching scheme within Lockerbie and across the rest of the region to give guidance and to match families to refugees.

“We’ve set up a Facebook group – Homes for Ukraine Lockerbie and Dumfriesshire – that provides all the information people will need and to find families willing to accept Ukrainians into their homes.

“This is obviously a very frightening time for refugees, landing in a strange country, not knowing where they will be taken, having very often left half of their family back in Ukraine.

“We hope as many people as possible want to get involved and help them during the worst time of their lives.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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