Ukrainian mother sends heartbreaking plea to Northamptonshire family who have criticised government's Homes for Ukraine scheme as 'absolutely criminal'

"I think the scheme needs sorting. It's designed to fail."

By Logan MacLeod
Monday, 25th April 2022, 5:15 pm

A Northamptonshire family has criticised the government's Homes for Ukraine scheme as “absolutely criminal” after waiting more than a month for visas to be approved.

On March 28, Ron and Mary Tulley, from Bugbrooke, applied to house a Ukrainian family via the government scheme.

The scheme, launched in mid-March, allows individuals, charities, community groups and businesses in the UK to bring Ukrainians to safety.

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Mary and Ron Tulley at their home in Bugbrooke

However, one month on (April 25) and the Tulleys are still waiting for one visa, out of the three they've applied for, to be approved.

The Tulleys are hoping to bring Olga, her 16-year-old son and 10-year-old daughter over, whom they met on Facebook after searching for families to take in.

Mary said: "We're very frustrated. We're trying to do our best. We've taken a bit of a leap of faith to offer the room we've got. We're ready and waiting, but they're not coming.

"Olga is leaving her husband behind because she has to, and elderly parents and family members. She's desperate to get her children to safety. You can see the urgency of this situation.

"They're having airstrikes in a country that is at war. They're still in that country. They've lost everything.

"It's a big step for her to take. It was really distressing last week when we got the email to say the visas will be through within 24 hours.

"Olga's came through, the 16 year old son's came through but we have still not heard about the little girl. She has been crying over the weekend to her mum saying, 'mummy am I the problem?'"

Mary said she has since received the following plea for help from the Ukrainian mother in an email.

The plea reads: "Hello to all our English friends. My name is Olga, I'm a mother of two kids. We were living in Bucha district till February 24. Our house was destroyed in March, thank God my kids survived.

"All this is a big stress for all of us. My little girl is crying and not understanding what's wrong with her - why she can't go to England, to your peaceful country and live a normal life?

"The Tulley family is waiting for us, we are in contact every day. They are our guardian angels. I'm asking you for help, like a mother. I don't know what to tell my kids."

After reading a report in The Observer newspaper, Mary and Ron both also have suspicions that the government is issuing visas for an entire Ukrainian family apart from one child, which in effect stops the family travelling to the UK.

Mary said: "I'm concerned this is a ploy now by this government to offer visas so they can announce they have got thousands issued and yet very few refugees in a position to travel.

"I just hope this is not a policy by our government but, frankly, it wouldn't surprise me. They're the government that promise everything and do nothing.

"I think the scheme needs sorting. It's designed to fail."

Ron said: "We've got Boris and Jacob Rees-Mogg standing up saying, 'oh, we've looked after 100,000 visas, but the actual amount of people that have settled here is awful.

"If this is proven that it has been policy to leave the youngest child without a visa, then that's absolutely criminal."

This newspaper has put this claim to the government, which issued the following statement.

A government spokesman said: “Thanks to the generosity of the public who have offered their homes to Ukrainians fleeing the war and through our Ukraine Family Scheme, more than 71,800 visas have been granted with 21,600 Ukrainians arriving safely in the UK.

“We are processing thousands of visas a day – this shows the changes we made to streamline the service are working and we’ll continue to build on this success so we can speed up the process even further.”

This is the exact same response the government issued when this newspaper contacted it about a similar case involving a family in Earls Barton.

On March 23, Mick and Sam Parker, from Earls Barton, applied to house a Ukrainian family via this scheme.

Four weeks later they are still waiting for the government to approve visas for the 37-year-old Ukrainian mother and her two children (aged 10 and 13) to enter the UK.

"You would not imagine this could be happening. I'm not exaggerating, it is atrocious. It's that incompetent it has to be deliberate," Mick said.

"There are thousands like us that are opening our homes and experiencing delays. Most of us are waiting four to five weeks, meanwhile, some of the refugees are actually dying, or they can't wait any longer and have to go back into a warzone. It is horrific.

"The family we are taking in have been bombed out of their first home and are being pushed out of their second one.

"Everyday we are sending emails and messages to MPs and embassies and we can't do anything until we get these visas and right to travel."

"Our refugee family are about to lose their accommodation in Ukraine and hence will be extremely vulnerable. We have waited nearly a month for visas. The system seems deliberately designed to put people off coming here.

"We think something has gone wrong but nobody is prepared to admit it and nobody is prepared to do something about it.

"We're just normal people, with a normal house, with a couple of spare bedrooms. We thought we could offer somebody a refuge, a space to get away from the war.

"We just wanted to offer a hand of friendship but we are being let down."

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