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Peppy and Phil, Hosts

Peppy and Sergii at the Ukrainian thank you celebration

Peppy and Sergii

What’s been your experience of hosting so far?

Out of the massive range of possible ways it could have gone, we’ve been very lucky to have a guy that we get on with on the whole, but not without some issues of course. Mainly to do with helping him to have independence and helping him find work. The actual relationship we have in the home is good, we have no issues with that, we’ve even been on holiday abroad with him and his girlfriend.

Why did you decide to sponsor?

The biggest prompt was seeing on the news the terrible things that had happened in Ukraine and the need to help with that. We had looked in to doing a similar thing before with another organisation that was housing Afghan refugees and we’d done quite a lot of online training for that, but in the end, we had decided that wasn’t quite right for us as we would’ve been housing a teenager. We weren’t confident that it was the right thing for us, so we withdrew from that which made us feel quite sad. I think that we realised that living in a remote village (Dingley) he would have had to have been dependent on us and that would have been too much. So, we decided to try again with the Homes for Ukraine scheme.

How did you find Sergii?

Peppy: It was all me, we wrote a little bio for ourselves as a family with a brief description of us and put it on one of the online sites. Sergii saw it online shortly afterwards. We had half a dozen replies and we decided to follow things up with Sergii and it went from there.

Would you have any advice for future sponsors?

Go with an open mind because it could go either way, I can’t just use our experience and say, go for it. It’s a situation that can cause a bit of fear and trepidation for some, but with that, there’s always a bit of excitement in the knowledge that you’re just doing a little bit for somebody in this awful situation.

Talking through the situation with your family beforehand, exactly why you are doing it is very important. Talking through what if scenarios and accepting that there is some risks whenever you accept a stranger in to your household. There is a risk of whether you are going to get on and misunderstandings can happen, there’s things that can make it challenging sometimes. However, we tried to remember there was far more risk for the person coming to us with the things they left behind and not knowing what they are coming to. It’s far harder for them than it was for us.

Our guest, Sergii was fortunate that he was out of the country when the war started (in Poland), so he was in the position of being able to come here which many men didn’t have the ability to do. He was in a lucky situation there that he didn’t have some of the first-hand trauma that others had to deal with at the outset. But, oh my word, he has had some difficult things despite that.

Did you have any challenges due do language or cultural differences?

Yes! But most of them were comical.

One day I made a big pot of soup for all of us, and we sat down to eat together, early on, there’s a lot of trying each other’s dishes, we tried his borsht (traditional Ukrainian beetroot soup) a couple of times, so we were eating the soup and half way through Sergii said,

“You make this soup from the bins?”

And I said, “Pardon?” I told him, “No.”

And he said, “Yes, you make it from the bins!”

And I said, “Do you think I took food out of the bin to make this meal for you?”

“The bin? No!” he said, and he walked over to the cupboard and pulled out a tin of beans.

So that was a time things got very much lost in translation, It turned what felt like an insult in to a good laugh! Generally, though we are very lucky that Sergii has such good English, it makes it so that most situations are not a problem.

Hong long have you lived in Harborough area?

Phil: I’ve lived in our current house for five years, we’ve been married for 20 and I’ve been in the area around 35.

Peppy: I lived abroad as a child and I’ve lived in a number of places in this country, happily I came to Harborough about 25 years ago and we have lived together for 20 years.

What is your favourite place in Harborough area?

For us its somewhere outside the town. We love Dingley Dell woods as we have dogs and we love to go walking.

If you could share one memory about Harborough, what would it be?

Phil: Coming from Yorkshire, sometimes it feels a bit different in the community as they have a more open-door culture there, people are a little more private and cautious here, but once they get to you know you, everyone is very friendly.

If you could give one message to the people of Harborough, what would it be?

Be supportive towards anyone that you think is not naturally affiliated to this country, because you never know where they have come from or what they’ve been through. Imagine what it would be like if the situation was reversed and provide all the love and care that you can.

Think of everyone as your neighbour, regardless of how far away their house is.

Do you think that would sponsor again knowing what you know now?

Yes! When Sergii is ready to go, we will probably take a short break and then quite possibly sponsor someone else.