Meet the Korols: How one Ukrainian family found refuge in the UK construction sector


Source: Murphy

For more than two decades, Larisa and Vadim Korol lived a fairly ordinary life together in Odessa. Then war came and brought them to the UK and to contractor Murphy

It seems almost inappropriate to talk about football in a time of war. But my interview with Ukrainian refugee Larisa Korol comes at the end of March, just a day after our respective countries’ showdown at Wembley, so the topic comes up as naturally as it might at any other time. “Not very good news for Ukraine,” the Odessa native laughs, recalling England’s comfortable 2-0 win.  

It was an unremarkable scoreline for a once-again-swaggering England team. More unusual was the sight of home and away fans mingling and the spirit of camaraderie on display as they spilled out onto Wembley Way. Though odd for a competitive home fixture, the atmosphere of warmth reflects the enthusiasm with which the British public has welcomed Ukrainians since the invasion of their country by the Russian army just over a year ago.  

More than 150,000 refugees have been invited into British homes since the Homes for Ukraine was established, with many also helping plug gaps in the UK’s desperately understaffed construction sector. Among them is Larisa and her husband Vadim, both of whom now work in the north of England for civil engineering contractor Murphy.

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