Call for MP to help Ukrainian refugees get to Suffolk

The publicans of The Queen at Brandeston have offered a first floor flat to Ukrainian refugees

The publicans of The Queen at Brandeston have offered a first floor flat to Ukrainian refugees - Credit: Matthew Usher

MP Dan Poulter is liaising with Government ministers in an effort to speed up the arrival of a Ukrainian refugee family who have had difficulties securing visas to get to Suffolk.  

Publicans at The Queen pub in Brandeston have offered the use of a first floor flat at the premises, but have had difficulties securing a visa for the Kyiv family and have asked the MP for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich for help. 

The four relatives include three women in their 30s - mother Inesa, her sister Alina and cousin Iryna- along with Inesa’s 11-year-old son, Gleb - and they are currently in Switzerland, having fled on March 10 following the Russian invasion. 

However, the three women are still waiting for visas, having applied through the Home Office, while Gleb does not have a passport, which is creating added complications. 

Harriet Aitchison, a publican at The Queen, said: “We decided to offer the accommodation because at the moment we don’t have any staff who require it, so at the moment it is sitting empty. 

“We had considered doing holiday lets, but when the war in Ukraine started, we thought we could give it to one family or two.” 

So they made the property available through the Government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme which enables refugees from the eastern European country to apply for a visa if they have a named person in the UK wishing to sponsor them. 

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They were put in touch with the family and have been liaising with them through a friend who used to work in Georgia and can speak Ukrainian. 

Harriet Aitchison (right) pictured with her mum Caroline, publicans at The Queen at Brandeston

Harriet Aitchison (right) pictured with her mum Caroline, publicans at The Queen at Brandeston - Credit: David Garrad

Harriet added: “We are hoping that Dan can speed the whole process up. The fact that we have got a family that needs our help and we have a space for them, it would be nice if we could get them here sooner or later.” 

She praised the community spirit of villagers in Brandeston who had come together to offer help with furnishing the flat, as well as buying food and clothes and even providing English language lessons. 

Mr Poulter said: “I have already been in touch with Harriet and Caroline at the Queens Head in Brandeston and I commend them on their efforts to assist this family seeking refuge from the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine.  

“As always, the people here in Suffolk have risen to the challenge and I would like to thank them for their efforts and generosity.

“I am already liaising with Government ministers to try and expedite this case and I am hopeful that this family will soon be safely on their way to Brandeston.”