Entrepreneurs create online platform to help Ukrainian refugees find sponsors

Entrepreneurs Max Haining and Glenn McWhinney said their platform will provide a ‘digital solution’ to aid the Government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme.

Lottie Kilraine
Thursday 24 March 2022 17:20
Refugees with children wait for a transport after fleeing the war from neighbouring Ukraine at a railway station in Przemysl, Poland (Sergei Grits/AP)
Refugees with children wait for a transport after fleeing the war from neighbouring Ukraine at a railway station in Przemysl, Poland (Sergei Grits/AP)

A UK technology company has created a online platform that allows “frustrated” Britons to connect with refugees in a bid to streamline the Government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme.

More than 150,000 people across the UK have already expressed interest in offering up their spare rooms to Ukrainian people fleeing from the Russian invasion.

Refugees with children wait for a transport after fleeing the war from neighbouring Ukraine at a railway station in Przemysl, Poland (Sergei Grits/AP)

In order to successfully host a refugee through the scheme, sponsors must identify a named person. This has caused many to resort to social media to find potential matches.

Entrepreneurs Max Haining and Glenn McWhinney say their online platform called UK Homes for Ukrainians will provide a “digital solution” to aid the Government scheme.

“We saw the scenes in Ukraine and wanted to create an easier way for fleeing refugees to connect with UK sponsors,” Mr Haining told the PA news agency.

Sponsor’s signing up to the digital platform will be asked to include details about the rooms they have available, the location and for how long they can accommodate someone.

This will enable refugees in Ukraine to choose a sponsor that fits their requirements.

Sponsor’s signing up to the UK Homes for Ukrainians platform will be asked to include details about the rooms they have available, the location and how long they can accommodate someone for. (Max Haining/PA)

The entrepreneurs have said they plan to distribute their platform to charity organisations in a bid to speed up the process and aid the Government scheme.

“I’m worried that the longer it takes Brits to find a refugee to sponsor, the window of opportunity for Ukrainians to flee safely to the UK becomes smaller,” Mr Haining said.

“Without knowing the name of refugees to sponsor, frustrated British families have resorted to social media to find potential matches.

“By launching this platform, we hope to speed up the process for hosts and refugees to find a ‘named person’ to sponsor before they can officially apply.”

Meanwhile, across Britain many charities are preparing for the influx of refugee families with young children expected to arrive in the UK over the next few months.

Humanitarian charity Sanctuary Foundation, set up in response to the Ukraine conflict, is working alongside Sheffield-based charity Baby Basics to provide essentials and equipment to struggling mothers who have fled the war.

The charities have developed a wish list on Amazon and donation website For Common Good, that allows donors to buy products ranging in price from £2 to £300.

The donations include products such as pushchairs, pyjama sets, toys, sanitary products and even SPF sun lotion.

For more information about the UK Homes for Ukrainians platform visit https://www.ukhomesforukrainians.com/

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