Sleaford Floating Support service helps Ukrainian refugee settle and learn English after fleeing war torn home
07 September 2023
A Ukrainian refugee who fled his war-torn homeland is about to sign a tenancy for his own home thanks to the support of our colleagues.
Grigoriy Thkachov, 72, arrived in the UK as part of the Homes For Ukraine programme in August last year with one bag of belongings, 90 euros and his Ukrainian ID.
His home and village had been hit by Russian bombing.
He has found a placement with an elderly couple in Ruskington and was assigned to our Sleaford Floating Support service in April.
Mark Sanderson, Community Support Worker for Sleaford Housing Related Support Floating Support Team, said: “When we assessed Grigoriy for his suitability for the service, there were several obvious issues.
“His lack of English was evident, so a solution needed to be found quickly to allow him to at least understand what was going on.
“This was particularly difficult as to Grigoriy, our presence was met with authoritative suspicion, seen as more people talking at and about him and yet another invasion of his privacy.”
A course was found at Lincoln College to help Grigoriy learn English with fellow Ukrainian and Eastern European students.
Mark added: “Communication using technology was also a challenge to Grigoriy. He claimed at his age, and being from a less affluent country, he didn’t have a smartphone and didn’t need one.
“This made the likes of emails, online form filling, and scanning documents a huge challenge.”
Grigoriy had a Well Man Check and was registered with a GP, where it was found he had early signs of diabetes and a mild heart complaint. A ‘happy medium’ was found where he could manage the diabetes with his own brand of healthy eating and use more contemporary medicine to treat his heart issue.
Mark knew that Grigoriy’s lack of a National Insurance Number was an issue and the usual online root to get one were blocked as there were parts of the application that required more information than they and Grigoriy held.
He said: “I researched ways around this and found a solution. Once a National Insurance Number was obtained, an application was made for Pension Credit.
“We also worked with two local authorities, West Lindsey District Council and North Kesteven District Council, to find Grigoriy a more permanent home.
“I’m pleased to say that Grigoriy can now speak better English and understands more of the conversations around him.
“He’s registered with a local GP and his health is no longer a particular concern.
“His application for Pension Credit was successful and not only does he get £201 per week, this was backdated to when he entered the UK and awarded about £5,000.
“He’s also due to sign his tenancy agreement on a flat in Sleaford provided by North Kesteven District Council, giving him more independence.
“This wouldn’t have been possible without our colleagues’ effort, research and bringing in assistance from our partners across the districts when required.”