More in Common speaks to three Ukrainians who have made their homes in Liverpool, as the city prepares to host Eurovision on behalf of their country
As Eurovision descends on Liverpool, one group of people will be watching with particular excitement. For the 163,500 Ukrainians who fled their homes to find refuge in the UK last year, the song contest will not just be about the music, but a chance to celebrate the journeys they have made over the last year and reflect on their newfound relationships with Britain.
In March, we surveyed over 1,200 hosts across the country who have welcomed Ukrainians into their homes as part of the Homes for Ukraine scheme. Now, we’ve interviewed three Ukrainians living in and around Liverpool to hear more about their stories.
Welcoming Ukrainians: Stories from Liverpool traces the journeys of Luda, Alina and Yuliia, three Ukrainians whose lives were all disrupted under the same circumstances, but have made very different lives for themselves in the UK.
The stories reflect the enormous challenges that Ukrainian refugees have had to overcome in the last year, but also the gratitude that they have for the British people who have shown kindness and generosity to them as they settle into their new lives.
In Liverpool, especially because Eurovision has come, we have lots of symbols and flags from Ukraine. And I feel like Ukraine is close to me. And people are friendly and, even if they don't know a lot about you or about Ukraine, they're friendly.
My host family helped me to explore English culture and to feel this British atmosphere. I think this family is very special. I still consider them very special and very lovely people. And I have already told them that it's a gift from God to meet such caring people.
When Liverpool won, I was so happy. We were with the family downstairs watching the news about Eurovision and we got up and we started jumping and shouting and we were happy.
Our research finds consistent support from Brits both for supporting Ukraine on the frontline and providing sanctuary for Ukrainian women and children through Homes for Ukraine. The Eurovision Finals in Liverpool are not only an opportunity to showcase the music, the showbiz and the fun but also to highlight the solidarity between Ukraine and Britain and the generosity that has made the Homes for Ukraine so successful. Our hope is that the stories of hosts and their guests that we are sharing today can inspire the next wave of hosts, who may be thinking about coming forward to sign up to this vital scheme.