Entrepreneurs create an online platform to help Ukrainian refugees find sponsors

Poland Russia Ukraine War

A British tech company has created an online platform that allows “frustrated” Britons to connect with refugees in a bid to streamline the government’s Homes for Ukraine programme.

More than 150,000 people across the UK have already expressed an interest in offering their spare rooms to Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion.

Poland Russia Ukraine War
Refugees with children wait for transportation after fleeing war from neighboring Ukraine at a train station in Przemysl, Poland (Sergei Grits/AP)

In order to successfully host a refugee under the program, sponsors must identify a named person. This has caused many people to turn to social media to find potential matches.

Entrepreneurs Max Haining and Glenn McWhinney say their online platform called UK Homes for Ukrainians will provide a “digital solution” to help the government scheme.

“We saw the scenes in Ukraine and wanted to create an easier way for fleeing refugees to connect with UK sponsors,” Mr Haining told the PA news agency.

When the sponsor registers with the digital platform, they will be asked to include details of the rooms they have, the location and the length of time they can host someone.

This will allow refugees in Ukraine to choose a sponsor who matches their needs.

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Sponsors signing up to the UK Homes for Ukrainians platform will be asked to include details of the rooms they have, the location and how long they can host someone (Max Haining/PA)

The entrepreneurs said they plan to distribute their platform to charities in a bid to speed up the process and help the government program.

“I fear that the longer it takes for the British to find a refugee to sponsor, the smaller the window of opportunity for Ukrainians to flee safely to the UK becomes,” Mr Haining said.

“Without knowing the names of the refugees to be sponsored, frustrated British families have taken to social media to find potential matches.

“By launching this platform, we hope to speed up the process for hosts and refugees to find a ‘nominated person’ to sponsor before they can officially apply.”

Meanwhile, across Britain, many charities are preparing for the influx of refugee families with young children who are expected to arrive in the UK over the next few months.

The humanitarian charity Sanctuary Foundation, set up in response to the conflict in Ukraine, works alongside Sheffield-based charity Baby Basics to provide essentials and equipment to struggling mothers who have fled war.

Charities have developed a wish list on Amazon and donation site For the common goodwhich allows donors to purchase products ranging in price from £2 to £300.

Donations include products such as strollers, pajama sets, toys, sanitary products and even SPF sunscreen.

Stephen V. Lee