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Homes for Ukraine

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Building relationships before you apply for a visa

However you may have met the people that you want to sponsor, if you do not know them personally, it’s important that you speak to them on the phone to make sure that both you and the person you want to sponsor are making an informed decision to move forward with this programme.

We know that having these initial conversations can be daunting, so we’ve made a quick guide to help you think about what kind of things to discuss and ask.

Before you arrange a call, you could also send your guests our guide to talk to you, which is available in Ukrainian and Russian.

If it’s possible, we strongly recommend that these initial calls take place with video. If your guest doesn't speak English, or has limited English, navigating these conversations will be more complicated. For some conversations, you can use apps like Google Translate or Say Hi – be sure to have a look at our advice on how to use these!

It's still very important to make sure you have at least a voice call but preferably a video call with your guests as well - it won't be perfect but it will at least help you start to build the foundation of your relationship and even show them around your home. You can watch our video on modifying your speech, which can help your guests understand you more easily.

Most translation apps also do voice translation, where you can speak into the app and it will speak back to your guest in their native language. If you have a few devices to work with, you'll be able to have an imperfect conversation. Some tips for using translation apps are:

  • Be sure to use simple, straightforward language

  • Avoid using acronyms - they won't translate

  • Be mindful of regionally/UK specific language. There are 20 different ways to say bread roll in the UK! And the word, "bungalow", usually translates to mean something like holiday home - instead use "single story home."

You may find that following your conversation, you do not feel comfortable to sponsor this person, or the same for them. Give one another space to make this decision and be honest if you feel that this refugee will not settle well where you live. Do not leave them guessing however, and be clear if this is the case so that they can find another sponsor. If they choose to not take up your offer of sponsoring them, respect their decision.

You can signpost them to the Reset matching site.