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Leeds Live
Leeds Live
Lucy Marshall

Couple give home to two Ukrainian mums and daughters as refugees say 'Leeds is like Kyiv'

A Leeds couple have taken in two families from Ukraine who messaged them for help from a bomb shelter.

Ashley and Sara Peatfield who live in Morley began having conversations considering housing a refugee when the Russia Ukraine war began. At the end of April Ashley saw a post on Facebook of a mother and daughter from Ukraine asking for help to leave their war-struck home.

"Within an hour and a half we were chatting over Whatsapp as the mum was sat in a bomb shelter", he said. The refugee told Ashley about her friend who is also a mother and needed a home too, and within three weeks both families had moved to Leeds.

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Ashley said: "We had been discussing the idea of taking a refugee family in and then we saw a post on Facebook. It said that they were vegetarians, and we thought it was the perfect match as so are we.

"The refugee mother asked if we could also get her friend to come to Leeds to. I explained that Leeds is quite a big place so while we might be able to come over they wouldn't necessarily be close by. So we decided to home the second mother and her 13-year-old too.

"It all happened within the space of three week - getting visas, passports etc. And then we got an email to say they had bought their tickets and were coming over."

Ashley and Sara Peatfield were messaging a Ukrainian woman about her move to Leeds while she was in a bomb shelter. They began having conversations about housing a refugee when the war began and weeks later two families moved into their home (Ashley Peatfield)

Ashley is a former BBC journalist. He and Maria run a charity called Funzi and Bodo Trust provide over 15,000 meals a week to poor Kenyan children. Ashley explained that the children are impacted by the rising food prices on the back of the war in Ukraine.

The couple homed Tatyana, who is an architect, and her 13-year-old daughter Angelina, and Vikktorria, who was a chief accountant before the war, and her 13-year-old daughter Maria. Both mothers left behind their husbands who are fighting for Ukraine.

Ashley explained that he and wife Sara have a daughter, but since she got married she has now moved out so they had the room for the families. "Both mothers have their own room and the children share together, and they all have their own living room - it's nice for them to have their own space.

One of the bedrooms used by the Ukrainian mothers (Ashley Peatfield)

"We do come together in the evening and have dinners together. We do speak about what is going on back in Ukraine and they of course are very concerned about their husbands who are still in Kyiv.

"There have been moments of tears. The internet seems to be a blessing and a curse about what is going on but I think it would be wrong for us to pretend it wasn’t going on"

Ashley and Sara have agreed to home both families for six months but say they are willing to offer their home for longer. He said that both mothers and the children seem settled in Leeds.

Maria and Angela, who are both 13, waiting for their flight from Poland to Leeds (Ashley Peatfield)

"They say Leeds is welcoming. They say Leeds is a lot like Kyiv - with lots of green space to enjoy", he said. This week the West Yorkshire couple have been sorting getting the two teenagers into schools in Leeds, and Tatyana and Vikktorria hope they are able to find work in the city too.

Two local churches in Morley have donated meals to the refugees. "They have brought something different every night", Ashley said. "We feel privileged that we feel we can help in this way we are looking forward to seeing how they progress here."


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