Europe

Homes for Ukraine hosts and families offered free mediation as households clash

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Under the Homes for Ukraine scheme, hosts are committed to putting up their guests for a minimum of six months.

But with more than 11,000 people having arrived in Britain since the scheme launched, many families have run into difficulties.

A recent Office for National Statistics (ONS) study found that 26 percent of hosts want to end their sponsorship before the six months is up.

There are also concerns about what will happen if households reach the end of the six-month scheme, after the data showed only six in 10 people would continue their sponsorship past the minimum agreed term.

But now National Family Mediation, the largest provider of family mediation in England and Wales, has partnered with a mother who fled Ukraine with her children and have agreed to offer free mediation sessions to families at risk of being made homeless.

Svitlana Stadnyk, a qualified international family mediator and head of the Association for Family Mediation of Ukraine, left her home in Ukraine behind in search of safety for her children.

Now settled in Britain, she has joined forces with three other experience Ukrainian mediators to offer their services n a bid to prevent the breakdown of relationships as community groups warn that a growing number of refugees are being made homeless after falling out with their hosts.

Svitlana said: “Living with anyone is not easy at the best of times and most things have to be negotiated so that a comfortable compromise for peaceful coexistence can emerge. Add into the mix language barriers, cultural differences, new family constructs and financial pressures and there is a recipe for those well-intentioned actions to quickly deteriorate as communication problems prevent the growth of understanding and mutual support.

She added: “Neither side of this equation wants their hard work in building this new relationship to break down but there will be inevitable stresses and strains along the way. Being unable to communicate is likely to be the biggest cause of tension and will fuel what might otherwise be simple problems that can be resolved amicably.”

Those who sign up for mediation services will each have a one-to-one meeting with the mediator followed by a meeting with the host family as well.

The mediators are Ukrainian guests themselves and speak English and Ukrainian and will be able to translate your discussions to facilitate reaching a resolution.

Of course, as the Ukrainian mediators are guests and mothers themselves, their time is limited but they will do their best to help anyone who needs it.

If you think it would be helpful to set up a meeting with a mediator please visit the NFM website. 

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