Poulton man searching for Ukrainian refugee in Poland ‘surprised’ by lack of guidance

A Poulton man who travelled to Poland to “proactively search” for a Ukrainian he could offer his home to has criticised the Government’s lack of guidance.

By Sean Gleaves
Friday, 18th March 2022, 6:34 pm
Updated Friday, 18th March 2022, 6:45 pm

Max Fox travelled to Przemysl, near the Ukrainian border, to help humanitarian efforts through the Caritas Internationalis charity.

He would also like to offer a room in his two-bedroom flat in Poulton-le-Fylde that he shares with his husband, Arturo Echeverria.

“I’m hoping today’s the day that I find somebody… I’ll be proactively searching today,” the 32-year-old told the PA news agency on Friday (March 18).

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Max Fox on a plane to Poland, on his way to help with humanitarian efforts. (Credit: PA)

Mr Fox said he was heading to Krakow to meet a man in his mid-20s who is eager to leave the refugee camp.

“He speaks no English but is keen to learn … [I] will rely on Google translate for now and see if the Government provides assistance in language programmes,” Mr Fox added.

He said he will support the refugee financially to help him fly to the UK.

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The the 32-year-old would also like to offer a room in his two-bedroom flat in Poulton-le-Fylde. (Credit: PA)

The first phase of the Homes For Ukraine programme allows UK sponsors to nominate a named Ukrainian or family to stay with them in their home or in a separate property.

Those offering to host will be vetted and Ukrainian applicants will undergo security checks.

The scheme was launched on March 18, but concerns have been raised over how it will work in practice.

“I am surprised by the lack of guidance so far,” Mr Fox said.

“We have been given no information of when the Government will have finished their vetting ‘checks’ for both sponsors and Ukrainians.

“I see no Government representatives on the ground providing support and guidance to Ukrainians so, unless you’re like me, I don’t know how people will do it.”

Mr Fox and his husband are willing to take in anyone needing a home, but would also be open to adopting an orphan if they are legally allowed to do so.

Having planned to arrive in Poland on Monday (March 14), Mr Fox travelled from Manchester on Thursday (March 17) after losing his passport.

He travelled with 88lb (40kg) of chocolate, sweets and dog chews to offer to Ukrainian families.

The 32-year-old arrived in Przemysl, a 30-minute journey from the Ukrainian border, on Thursday evening.

“Przemysl is in a state of chaos,” Mr Fox said.

“The volunteering efforts from people from different countries around the world are incredible… but it’s very, very hard to keep up with trains arriving every hour.”

Mr Fox said that, despite him taking “hundreds and hundreds” of chocolate bars to hand out, they lasted less than an hour due to the sheer number of refugees.

“I’ve attached myself to the Caritas charity to work with them, putting a smile on the kids’ faces and being a shoulder to cry on for the mums who are in a state of despair,” he said.

“They’ve lost their homes, their livelihoods and their husbands and are living in hope that they can go home soon. It’s truly devastating.”

Mr Fox, an artistic director for a group of hotels in Blackpool, said he has to return to the UK on Sunday (March 20) for work but plans to go back to Poland next week to continue helping.

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