A WOMAN who welcomed a Ukrainian couple into her home has called for a complete overhaul of the "broken" Homes for Ukraine scheme.

Alice Beveridge welcomed Svitlana and Oleksandr Husievy into her East Lothian home on Saturday after the young couple made their way from Hungary to Scotland.

Originally from Lviv in the east of Ukraine, Svitlana, 23, and Husievy, 26, left their home shortly before Russia commenced its invasion of their homeland, under the advice of their parents.

After finding Alice and her husband Ross on a Facebook group, the couple travelled 32 hours by train from Budapest to Munich, Munich to Strasbourg, Strasbourg to Paris, Paris to London before abording a final train to Edinburgh.

READ MORE: 'I have left everything behind': Ukrainian refugee on her new life in Scotland

Alice, director of the educational training firm Tree of Knowledge, said she and her husband were desperate to help in whatever way they could so when the Homes for Ukraine scheme launched they jumped at the chance.

But the scheme encountered issues at launch with so many people trying to log on, and Alice says matchmaking has largely occurred through social media and other websites. Something that brings inherent risk, especially for women fleeing the war.

There has also been criticism over the UK's lack of visa-free access for Ukrainians, and the length of time those visa applications can take.

Alice said: “I think when the conflict first started, like everybody, we were horrified. You're thinking is this really happening?

“Obviously there have been wars in the past. But the evacuation of the scale is something that we've probably not seen since World War Two. I and my husband were talking going ‘God, I wish there was something we could do’.

From left: Olaxender, Aria, Svitlana, Ayren, Ross and AliceSvitlana and Husievy Oleksandr fled Ukraine just before Russia invaded

“Then a few days later, the Homes for Ukraine refugee scheme opened up. And like lots of other people, we spent quite a long time trying to register for that because there were so many people wanted to help.

“But then I think what people then found very frustrating was that there was nothing new for those first few days, there was no new information as to how to do it. And then it became quite apparent that the onus was really going to be on the host in the short term to find somebody to sponsor."

Alice said social media groups have played a major match-making role for Ukrainians coming to the UK, but fears have been raised over the dark side of social media - particularly for women.

Despite this, Alice said it has showcased the tremendous kindness in Scotland towards those fleeing war.

Alice continued: “It became quite apparent that the onus would be on us as individuals to find people who, first of all wanted to come to Scotland which very, very far away from Ukraine, and then help them work through some of that paperwork for the application process.

“And if you don’t speak English, the application process is very, very challenging, even though it's translated into Ukrainian. It was much easier for us to be able to get all the information that we needed from the people that we sponsored, and then fill the forms in and but at that point, you're asking an awful lot of a complete stranger.

From left: Olaxender, Aria, Svitlana, Ayren, Ross and Alice

“You’re suddenly asking for their passport and financial information and they have to put so much faith in the person on the other side to make it work.

“It’s quite a fine balancing act between making sure you're helping as much as you can but you also don't want people to find themselves in a position where they're at risk of being hurt.

“I think you have to be willing to advocate for the people that you're sponsoring ferociously. I have had multiple conversations with our local MP and his office about the process of visas and how long they're taking.

“There needs to be a central matching system for hosts and refugees. If I was designing the system, I would have all of the people who have agreed to host and a very easy and straightforward place for Ukrainians to register what they need from a host because different people have very different needs."

From left: Olaxender, Aria, Svitlana, Ayren, Ross and Alice

“I spoke to somebody a couple of weeks ago and they said, ‘Oh, you're just making it work in a broken system?’ And I said ‘Yes, I guess so’.

“I do think the Scottish Super Sponsor Scheme is going to make in Scotland that matching process much easier but I think it could be fairly dire down south without that matching.”

READ MORE: More than 20 Highland businesses pledge to sponsor 60 Ukrainian refugees

Alice said despite flaws in the system it was still "absolutely" worth it to help those fleeing Ukraine.

From left: Olaxender, Aria, Svitlana, Ayren, Ross and Alice

"This isn't the first time Ukrainians have experienced war," she said. "They just want to be somewhere safe to live and work and live their life. Their homes, their cities just aren't there anymore.

"So, yes, it might be a hassle having to talk to your MP or the visa office but at the end of the day, that's people's lives, and if we can do anything that makes that easier, even for just two of the people who are fleeing, then hopefully, there will be other people that are willing to put in the effort and welcome more people.”

For now, Svitlana and Oleksandr plan to practise their English and find jobs. Svitlana also has plans to study psychology at university.

The couple said they feel safe and welcome in Scotland and are expecting a visit from Svitlana's mum soon. They are still waiting for their visas to come through.

The UK Government has been approached for comment.