Article 29 April 2022

The power of united efforts: Mark’s life transformation, chapter 1

Our natural response when conflict emerges is to try and support in various ways. Some of you were able to help from a distance, and others have opened their homes to our European neighbours in Ukraine. Let’s look at the fantastic stories that our Mitie colleagues have shared.

Mark’s life transformation

Chapter 1:

Meet Mark, our Group Director of Operational Excellence and Business Transformation. In his profession, Mark looks at how to get the business to operate to the Mitie standards of excellence. In his personal life, Mark and his wife also act to the best standards of humanity. They are hosting two Ukrainian refugees who are waiting for a better climate to come back home.

How did it start, what inspired you to do something?

It simply started with the news. The fact that the conflict is almost in our backyard, a part of Europe, felt very close. My wife and I related to the refugees instantly from watching what happened and seeing photographs. We looked into how to support. Initially, it was just a talk in the background about hosting refugees as a possibility. This was until the Hopes for Ukraine website was set up, which led us to look online and submit our names as sponsors.

How did you get in touch with refugees looking for hosts?

It went quiet for a week and then two ladies contacted us, so we arranged a FaceTime call. The young ladies connected to us although they spoke with other people offering to host them. They asked to be hosted by us and we agreed to start the process.

Was it difficult to select a family to host?

We started talking to another family and the ladies we are hosting came back to us and confirmed they wanted to start the process with us. This shows there is demand from Ukrainian looking for shelter in the UK. It made our commitment to help the refugees even stronger. We organised a call with our now guests.

Some people in Ukraine no longer had electricity. How did the FaceTime call go?

One of the young women was in Kiev, we’ll call her Anna. The other one, we’ll call her Daria, was on the southern border in the heart of where the war was taking place at this moment. We lost contact with her during the call, we tried contacting her again and it was a bit ‘hit and miss’. We couldn’t see anything from their side, but we did manage to show them our house and where they would stay, eventually.

What do you know about their journey?

Anna, who was in Kiev, left when the attack on the city started. She was trying to get to the town where her parents were but she couldn’t get to their house. There were war actions taking place there. Daria stayed at her parents’ house in the southern border until she got her visa approval.

One of them had to find temporary shelter elsewhere due to bombings – and then the bombing caught up to her after only a day. She had to go to Poland and tried to find an accommodation there for over a week, she moved from house to house. It was a real struggle and very daunting for her.

Anna and Daria waited three weeks for their UK home office letter accepting them as refugees to arrive.

Find out next week how Anna and Daria settled in the UK, in chapter 2.