A Ukrainian family that has resettled in North Yorkshire are hoping for a brighter future in 2023 after making a lasting impression on the community that has welcomed them into the UK since they escaped the horrors of war.

For refugees Anton, Natalie and their two children Mica and Artem, the future didn’t always look so certain after fleeing their war-torn country in May 2022.

Darlington and Stockton Times:

However, since moving over to the UK, the family of four have endeared themselves to the Crakehall community, near Bedale, and have become friends, colleagues, and neighbours to members of the village that have spent their whole lives there.

On May 2 of last year, Anton, Natalie, Mica, and Artem travelled over from Ukraine – unsure what life awaited them over in the UK.

But, fast forward more than eight months, and their stay has been branded a ‘complete success’ after living with their hosts Alison and Mark Williams through the Homes For Ukraine scheme – who are now “friends for life”.

Not only do Anton and Natalie have jobs, bank accounts, a car, and a chance at a new life, Mica and Artem have been able to continue their education in North Yorkshire – and, later this month, the whole family will move into a home of their own in Bedale.

Host Alison Williams, says the family have “left a lasting impression” and “a remarkable impact” on the community since arriving.

She said: “It’s been an absolute huge success. We’re just like one big happy family – all their family back in Ukraine are our family, and they are friends for life.

“Very soon, they will be moving to Bedale because we’re fostering at our house and need an empty house for that. But we’ll keep the strongest of links and always see them.

“One of the biggest changes over the last eight months is the development in language – we can now have full conversations in English – and I think they get English humour – the development in language has come on so quickly with them.”

Darlington and Stockton Times:

Despite engraining themselves into the Crakehall community, which has seen help from the church, pub, and the community spirit of residents, Alison says that the daily reminder about the horrors that remain in Ukraine to this day is apparent when Anton, Natalie, Mica, and Artem speak to family back home.

A battle with the ‘unknown’ element of whether their extended family is safe and well is ‘tough to watch,’ according to Alison.

She added: “When they phone back home, the electrics goes off quite often over there and sometimes the call will go down, and it leaves Anton and Natalie unable to know if their relatives are okay – it’s unimaginable for them.”

Throughout the whole Homes For Ukraine scheme experience, Alison admits her family is “lucky” that they have got on with the Ukrainian family after hearing some horror stories – but has also appealed for people in the UK to still help where they can.

“Some families over in Ukraine aren’t in a position to flee – but people in the UK must do what they can. We’ve been lucky with this family becoming our family – and others can have the same experience,” she added.

“They look after us, more than we look after them. We can’t wait for a great and successful 2023 for our big, new family.”