When Carolann and Raymond Coghill saw the images of destruction coming from war-torn Ukraine, they decided they had to do something to help.

As soon as the Homes for Ukraine scheme launched, they jumped at the opportunity to host refugees, since their grown-up son and daughter have left the nest leaving an empty room.

The couple, who live in Clydebank and both work in the NHS, are now urging others to lend a helping hand. 

Carolann said: “My husband and I were watching those horrific images on TV every night, it’s just dreadful, thinking about kids and babies going through this…It’s cruel.

“I don’t know if it’s just because we work in hospitals, but it’s almost like a moral duty, you have to help these people, why wouldn’t you?

“We’ve been lucky enough to never live through a war, but if we were in the same position, it’s nice to think that help would be extended the other way as well.”

Clydebank Post: Carolann, 54, with husband Raymond, 66, and their dog Chase.Carolann, 54, with husband Raymond, 66, and their dog Chase.

The couple, with dog Chase, are planning a warm welcome for their guests, with some help from the community.

Carolann added: “We are looking for local groups to try and see if they can meet up with people from their own country, so they can feel a little bit more at home.

“We’ll just be as we are, we’ll just try and help them settle the best we can.

“I think they’ll be glad to be somewhere quiet and safe, it must be awful for them.”

For anyone who would like to help but is apprehensive about housing strangers, Carolann had some words of reassurance.

Clydebank Post: Carolann is urging other people to apply for the Homes for Ukraine scheme.Carolann is urging other people to apply for the Homes for Ukraine scheme.

She said: “You don’t need to have a huge house or anything like that, we’re just ordinary people with ordinary jobs and a spare room.

“In terms of the language barrier, there are ways to get around that nowadays, with Google Translate and all sorts of stuff.

“I think we just have to do our bit, whether it’s housing someone, or helping with the collection of supplies and donations.

“It could be your next-door neighbour's kid, it could be your own family, and why would you not want to help kids from anywhere else?”

Despite getting their application in on March 18, the opening day of the scheme, like many others, Carolann and Patrick have not received any updates from the Government yet.

In the meantime, they are looking at alternative channels to try and speed up the process. 

Clydebank Post: Good boy Chase will be welcoming Ukrainians seeking refuge in ScotlandGood boy Chase will be welcoming Ukrainians seeking refuge in Scotland

Carolann added: “There hasn’t been much response, I know it’s only been a few days, but while they twiddle their thumbs, the situation is getting worse. 

“It's pretty frustrating to say the least. 

“We have contacted the Sanctuary Foundation, who are supporting arrivals from Ukraine, and posted in a few Facebook pages, but we would rather go through official channels if possible.”

The Homes for Ukraine scheme is now open for applications. It provides a route to the UK for Ukrainians with no family ties here.

Individuals can act as sponsors by offering a spare room for at least six months and have the option to receive a “thank you” payment of £350.

For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/register-interest-homes-ukraine

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