By Robin Young
THEY are putting a brave face on their situation but behind the smiles lurks the shadow of yet another setback for this family of refugees from war-torn Ukraine.
Maxim and Olga Hyryk, their five young children, and two elderly mothers have just 10 days left before they have to vacate their two-bedroom, rented bungalow in Fareham.
After fleeing the horrors of their homeland inflicted by the brutal invading Putin forces, the Hyryks thought the immediate troubles were behind them when they were provided with accommodation next door to their landlord, a Royal Navy officer.
But, as 36-year-old Olga explains in a Crowdfunding appeal, their new sanctuary turned out to be a short-lived solution: “We are raising money for renting a house since we have no money at all and we were notified that on July 15 we must leave our host house or we will be evicted.
‘We were invited by our hosts to stay for six months initially but they have now changed their minds’
“We arrived in the UK five weeks ago. We were invited by our hosts to stay for six months initially but they have now changed their minds.”
The situation is a complicated one because several of the family members have special needs.
As Olga explains: “We are a very happy family as we have five magical kids and God gave us two sets of twins! We have four boys and a beautiful girl who is only one year old.”
“The first twins are Maxim and David, they turned seven years old two weeks ago.
“The second twins are Amiran and Tamerlan, they are two years and nine months old. Unfortunately Amiran has autism but we are doing our best to socialise him and adapt him to a normal life in the future. Amiran also has a genetic disorder and follows a strict gluten-free and lactose-free diet.
“I have a mother, Anna, who is 70 years old but unfortunately she has dementia, diabetes and other associated medical problems. I am her main carer. She is not able to look after herself and needs constant care and support.
“My mother-in-law Olena who is 60 years old, also left Ukraine with us and she helps us a great deal with the children especially with Amiran who is autistic and needs constant supervision.”
Just reaching Fareham had been a traumatic experience in itself: “Before we arrived in the UK, we travelled through the territory of Ukraine for nine days to reach the Polish border.”
‘It was a very difficult time when rockets were actively flying in’
“It was a very difficult time when rockets were actively flying in and air strikes were carried out around us. After that, we spent a long time in Poland on the border with Ukraine in the small village of Baligrod in temporary housing for refugees.”
“When we were invited by our host to come to the UK it was not an easy decision for us to make to move so far away, as having fled from Ukraine we were without money and savings.”
“Unfortunately, the family that provided us with accommodation under the Homes for Ukrainians scheme changed their mind and informed us that we should leave the accommodation as soon as possible.
“We have nowhere to go and we are very worried that we may soon be homeless with 5 children and my mother who has dementia.
“After the horror of war, it is unbearable to be in a state of insecurity and fear that we can be evicted at any moment if someone changes their mind. We know that most people in this country are very nice.
“We want to organize a fundraiser for our family since we need to have six months rent in advance and a deposit as we do not have a credit history in this country. We are not beggars, we just want to stabilise our home situation and live a normal peaceful life and have confidence in the future as a whole family.”
‘Eventually we want to be able to work and contribute to British society’
“We live in Fareham. Our children Maksim and David go to the local school who welcomed them with love and understanding. The younger twins are due to start at pre school next week. They really like England and they dream of living here.”
“Our children, who fled from the war, are now being evicted from this new home. The children are now constantly anxious and worried. We need to find a stable home for them so that they can heal and flourish. Eventually we want to be able to work and contribute to British society.”
A target of £12,600 had been set for the Crowdfunding appeal but, thanks to the generosity of people across the region, the total raised so far now stands at £20,840.
However as Maxim, also 36 and a former project manager in Ukraine, told the Globe this week: “Actually getting the money from the Crowdfunding page takes about 12 days, with a further four days for the bank to process it.”
Their plight has been highlighted in the national and provincial media, including the Daily Mail, Mirror, Sun, the ‘I’, Independent and Hampshire Live.
They have also been given advice and support by various agencies including CAB and Fareham Borough Council. Unfortunately none is in a position to offer suitable housing at this stage.
As Maxim said: “We were perfectly happy here and the fact that it has only two bedrooms didn’t bother us. We will be glad to take whatever we can get.”
To date, the landlord has chosen not to talk to the media about this case. If he would like to given his side of the story, the Globe would be pleased to hear from him. He can either telephone the editor or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
PICTURED: The Hyryks and their five children and, top, with the two grannies. Photographs by Holly Mason