The host talks about the difficulty in bringing the young Ukrainian musician to the UK.


A UK music teacher who struggled to host a non-peer young Ukrainian musician through the Homes for Ukraine scheme said she was “trying to legalize child trafficking” during her struggle.

The government announced on Wednesday that Ukrainian children would be able to come to the UK without a parent or guardian under the Homes for Ukraine visa scheme.

So far, children under the age of 18 have been unable to travel to the UK under the Homes for Ukraine scheme unless they are accompanied by or joined by a parent or guardian.

But, until a few weeks after the scheme opened in March, there was no mention in government guidelines of the need for individuals under the age of 18 to do so, leading to confusion among potential hosts such as Deanne Campbell.

Dan Campbell and husband Darren Campbell (Dan Campbell) / PA Media

Mrs Campbell, 52, of Stock Lynch, Somerset, welcomed 16-year-old Anastasia Sandalova to the UK on May 22 after weeks of difficulties following her initial application on March 29.

“I was treated as if I was trying to legalize child trafficking or anything else,” Mrs. Campbell, a professional flotist and teacher for more than 30 years, told the PA News Agency. ۔

“I have received a lot of confrontational emails from people like I am doing something wrong by trying to help this girl, and I have been trolled on some Facebook groups.

“I’m just trying to help someone here.”

The government’s announcement means that minors under the age of 18 will be able to apply for a visa to come to the UK under the sponsorship scheme if their parents consent.

The new policy will initially apply to more than 1,000 unaccompanied minors who have already applied under the scheme.

Mrs. Campbell described Anastasia as “a very talented musician” who plays and sings piano and guitar.

As far as I’m concerned, it’s family for us now and we will do what we have to do.

The young man fled Kyiv with his mother and two-year-old sister shortly after the Russian invasion of the country, going to live on people’s sofas in Montenegro.

After submitting an application earlier this year and setting up a bedroom with a music room for Anastasia, Mrs. Campbell was told by her local council that people under the age of 18 are ineligible to travel alone.

Somerset County Council told the PA in April that they had always assumed that minors who did not accompany them would not be eligible, but not until a letter from the Department of Leveling Up, Housing and Communities arrived on April 13. Until then, they did not have “clear guidance”.

Meanwhile, a government spokesman said at the time: “Due to safety requirements, unaccompanied minors are only eligible under the Homes Scheme for Ukraine if they are reunited with a parent or guardian in the UK.”

According to Mrs Campbell, Anastasia arrived in the UK on May 22 on the condition that her mother fly over to drop her off.

Other new guidelines will follow – those who have already applied and are waiting will be written to by the Home Office this week, but additional security checks may mean that visas will be issued. A few weeks before

Anastasia Sandalova has become ‘really well connected’, according to her host (Ivan Steenko). / PA Media

After living in the country for a month now, Anastasia has moved to school and there is a music camp to look forward to this summer – Mrs. Campbell said she hopes her story will inspire others to be steadfast. Will give

“I said, ‘Here’s everything you hoped for?'” Said Mrs. Campbell. “And he said, ‘Yes, of course, and much more.’

“She is very well connected. She was saying last night, ‘I am very lucky to have another family.’

“As far as I’m concerned, it’s family for us now and we will do what we have to do.

“I think there are hosts who are literally at the end of their teacher, and (I want) to show that you can not only overcome them, but they are really happy.”