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Glastonbury organiser Emily Eavis urges UK to fix Homes for Ukraine scheme

The festival organiser said she was meant to host refugees on Worthy Farm weeks ago but they remain stuck in Kyiv

By Charlotte Krol

Emily Eavis (r) and her father Michael Eavis (l) seen in the e Avalon Cafe at Glastonbury festival
Emily Eavis (r) and her father Michael Eavis (l). (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Rodw)

Glastonbury festival organiser Emily Eavis has said the government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme is “simply not working”, as she continues to wait to host a family fleeing the war-torn country.

Eavis, who runs the world famous festival with her father Michael, took to Twitter yesterday (April 7) to urge the government to “fix” the broken system, which according to reports has only granted 4,700 visas from 32,000 applications in the time period until March 31.

“17 days ago we were introduced to Veronika and her family, and pledged to host them here at Worthy Farm,” Eavis began her message.

“Their visa applications were submitted on the same day through the Homes for Ukraine scheme, but still they have not been granted. Veronika’s family remains stuck in Kyiv.”

She continued: “We need our government to take immediate action so that the many thousands of UK residents desperately trying to help people escape a warzone are actually able to do so.”

The premise of the Homes for Ukraine scheme is for participating households to host refugees who are fleeing Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war again Ukraine.

£350 is being offered to each household tax-free as a “thank you” from the government. More than 100,000 UK citizens and organisations signed up within the first day last month.

The Home Office has admitted that “progress approving visas has not been good enough” following reports of poor progress and complexities.

In a statement a spokesperson said: “The Home Office has made changes to visa processing, the application form has been streamlined, Ukrainian passport holders can now apply online and do their biometrics checks once in the UK, and greater resource has gone into the system.”

They went on to say that the changes were now allowing the UK to “welcome people faster, while still maintaining security checks which ensure those who could pose a threat to our safety are prevented from getting here and human trafficking is addressed”.

Glastonbury festival has pledged to donate proceeds from this year’s event to the Red Cross Ukraine Crisis Appeal as well as its usual partners, the charities Oxfam, Greenpeace and WaterAid.

The festival returns this June 22-26 after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last month it revealed its line-up, confirming that Kendrick Lamar and Paul McCartney will headline along with the previously announced Billie Eilish.

Elsewhere, Pink Floyd have released their first new music in decades with ‘Hey Hey Rise Up’, a song featuring a sample of Ukrainian singer Andriy Khlyvnyuk that will raise funds for war relief.