Ukraine refugee in Gosport praises 'amazing' community - but host family blasts UK government for lack of help

BEFORE missiles started to rain down on Ukraine, mum Lilya Kulynych was a wedding stylist for more than 20 years – now the ‘amazing’ people of Gosport have helped her re-start her career to support her young family and her husband back in Ukraine.

By Richard Lemmer
Thursday, 30th June 2022, 4:55 am
Ukrainian hairdresser Lilya Kulynych has a new life in the UK where she is working in Amy Rogers' salon in Stoke Road, Gosport 
Picture: Chris Moorhouse (jpns 290622-18)
Ukrainian hairdresser Lilya Kulynych has a new life in the UK where she is working in Amy Rogers' salon in Stoke Road, Gosport Picture: Chris Moorhouse (jpns 290622-18)

Less thank four months ago, Lilya and her three children – aged 16, 14 and 18 months - were rushing into a bomb shelter in the city of Ivano-Frankivsk as an air raid siren warned of approaching Russian jets.

The 38-year-old mum had no idea what fate awaited her family – now she says she lives in ‘the best place in the UK’ thanks to a Gosport couple who are hosting the young family.

Lilya said: ‘Everyone has done so much for me and my family. England is full of beautiful people – they are diamonds.’

Ukrainian hairdresser Lilya Kulynych has a new life in the UK where she is working in Amy Rogers' salon in Stoke Road, Gosport. Lilya with Charles Swain of her host family in Gosport Picture: Chris Moorhouse (jpns 290622-32)

Working will help her support her husband Volodymyz, who has remained in Ukraine to help civilians fleeing the worst of the destruction in the east of the country and to support his 93-year-old father.

Lilya added: ‘He also helping people across the city and he’s helping people from Kiev, he’s giving them a shower and some where to stay – some people need food and clothes.’

But the UK government has offered ‘pretty much no assistance’, according to Haslar-resident Chris Swain, who had initially applied to the government’s Homes For Ukraine scheme.

The 62-year-old said: ‘I was just absolutely affronted that Putin can do what he’s done, marching into another country.

Ukrainian hairdresser Lilya Kulynych has a new life in the UK where she is working in Amy Rogers' salon in Stoke Road, Gosport. She is pictured wih Amy Rogers, left Picture: Chris Moorhouse (jpns 290622-13)

‘We signed up with the government scheme and nothing happened, so we used Facebook to get in touch with families in Ukraine.

‘I remember speaking to (Lilya) on Facetime and she was pushing her buggy and an air raid siren went off.

‘There’s been pretty much no government assistance – it was pretty difficult to sort out them coming here.

‘But it was worth it.’

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Lilya had applied for Universal Credit when she arrived in the UK in May – but she is still waiting to have her application approved.

Now Gosport hair dressers Amy Rogers Hairdressing, in Stoke Road, is helping her earn a living by providing a space in the saloon for her resume her career.

Lilya will be offering 30 per cent off haircuts to all Ukraine passport holders.