Refugee host from Wiltshire says red tape is delaying arrival of Ukrainian family fleeing war

  • ITV News Meridian's Richard Slee spoke to Sue Sneddon who is waiting to welcome a Ukrainian family of six

A host family from Wiltshire say their efforts to take in a refugee family from Ukraine are being hampered by red tape which is delaying their arrival. 

Sue Sneddon who lives in Alderbury near Salisbury is in daily contact through video calls with the family of six.

Sue said: "The hold up appears to be the visa problem. As I understand it, the government had so many people apply on that first day, the 18th of March, and it seems the applications seem to have fallen into a black hole.

"On the one hand our government is saying that we would really like to help, they want to send out help to refugee centres and places in Europe that are swamped, and on the other hand they are delaying the visas and I think that is wrong particularly as they all have passports."

The Lekhiv family fled Ukraine but face delays getting a visa to stay with a host family in Wiltshire.

The Lekhiv family left their home near the Ukrainian border with Belarus, when they saw Russian tanks.

For the past month they have been on the road in limbo, taking shelter where they can in Poland and Germany.

Iryna is now living with her husband and four children in one room in Germany.  

Iryna Lekhiv said: "It's a bit difficult because it's a tiny room for so many people and they are going crazy because there is nowhere to play.

"We're very tired of waiting because we are waiting in a tiny room in a hotel, so many people, we don't have a kitchen. It's so tiring."

Iryna says it's "tiring" having the whole family live in one room in Germany.

Iryna's husband was allowed to leave Ukraine because they have four children. 

She wants to come to the UK because she can speak English and so can the children.

Iryna said: "In Germany they can't speak, they don't understand anything. 

"There are a lot of people here and it's impossible to find a place."

Sue Sneddon from near Salisbury speaks most days with the Ukrainian Lekhiv family who she hopes will soon move to the UK. Credit: ITV News Meridian

Now that Sue's four children have all grown up and left home, she has space to spare.

Everything is ready for Sue's guests. She has prepared a room for the parents, another room for the three boys to share who are aged five, eight and 11, and another for the 13-year-old daughter.

Three other families in the village are also waiting for refugees to arrive.

Thousands of people have so far offered to sponsor a refugee family from Ukraine.

The government says it is carrying out vital safeguarding checks and the rate at which visas are being processed is increasing.