Ukranian family on way to Windermere after visa delay causes three month wait

A Ukrainian family who have been waiting three months to get their visas are finally on their way to Cumbria.

The Chumachenko's fled the war in Ukraine with their 73-year old grandmother and a three-year-old child.

The family's British paperwork was approved just days before their Romanian visas were scheduled to run out.

This could have resulted in the family's return to war-torn Ukraine.

Translating for Alina and Nataliia, Tanya Mulholland told ITV Border: "They're so frustrated that they don't know where to go in between hope and fear.

"In Ukraine, there's nowhere to live, the windows are gone, they have no safe place to be so it's just straight to death."

Delays have caused the family's paperwork to take so long, meaning the Chumachenko's have been living with 200 refugees in Romania.Two men from their family have stayed fighting in Ukraine.

When they finally arrive in Britain, they will be staying at a cottage in Windermere with Martin Rayner.

Martin Rayner's cottage in Windermere the family will be staying in once they arrive. Credit: ITV News Border

He said Windermere had a proud history of providing a safe haven in war and felt it was his duty to carry that on.

"At the end of the Second World War we took in people from concentration camps in Auschwitz and places," he added.

"We've got schools that are keen to welcome them; we've got some toys that have been given by local people."

Mr Rayner has even got a Ukrainian cookbook with the hope of helping the family feel at home.

Translating for Alina, Ms Mulholland said: "They want their own space, their own home, peace and quiet and a new family.

"They can't wait to meet them and they're so happy and grateful."

In response to the Chumachenko's wait, the Government told ITV Border it had launched "one of the fastest and biggest visa schemes in UK history".

The Home office continued: "In just over two months, over 120,000 visas have been issued so Ukrainians can live and work in the UK.

“The changes made to streamline the visa system, including simplifying the forms and boosting staff numbers, are working and we are now processing visas as quickly as they come in – enabling thousands more Ukrainians to come through our uncapped routes.”

With the family on its way to Cumbria, Mr Rayner said the delay in paperwork has meant he could re-paint their new home so it is "perfect" for when they arrive.

Listen to ITV News' What You Need To Know podcast: