Ukrainian families living in Upton were treated to a series of summer activities this week – with packed fun days and tours out to the Cotswolds.
The events helped the 90 Ukrainians now living in Upton familiarise themselves with the wider region, many families don’t speak English nor have access to transport while living in the country.
Among those willing to help were colleagues from Brio Retirement Living’s Beechwood Park in Stow-on-the-Wold teamed up with the Upton upon Severn Baptist Church to develop a schedule of activities to look forward to over the summer. Trish Staite is general manager at Beechwood Park and a resident of Upton; she explained: “Like many people around the country, we have been moved by the strength of Ukrainian families, many of whom have left all that they know to set up life in a new part of the world.
“I saw lots of families moving into Upton and felt compelled to help in any way I could. In working with the church, we were able to get families out into the Cotswolds for a free day of fun that took us to Beechwood Park, Cotswolds Farm Park and to take in some of the sights of the Cotswolds.
“We were all just so blown away by the beauty of the Cotswolds; even as a local it opened my eyes to how unique our setting is at Beechwood Park and the wider region. It was joyous and uplifting and I cannot express enough gratitude to show the Ukrainian families how grateful we are to have met them, to hear about their lives, their ambitions and the ongoing situation in their homeland.”
As part of the schedule, the families were treated to a coffee morning and tour of Beechwood Park; homeowners welcomed the visitors with open arms, sharing stories about life in the UK and the Ukraine. The children were also given art sets and drew pictures that are now on display at the development; local photographer Claire Carroll also attended one of the events and took family portraits as gifts for the families.
Homeowners have since said it was a joyous day but a humbling experience, citing the “delightful” families and “polite” children with whom they made a connection.
Now Trish is open to preparing similar events in the future, ensuring that Ukrainian families are connected and welcomed all over the local area. She concluded: “This is hopefully the start of something great and I hope it inspires other local businesses and organisations to work with the Ukrainian community to explore the local area, learning more about our newest neighbours and sharing our time, our stories and our hopes for the future.”
Karl Hallows, director of operations at Brio concluded: “Brio is committed to not only building and nurturing new places, but also embedding ourselves within our local communities. This was a fantastic opportunity to get to know our newest neighbours and I thank our colleagues and homeowners for their enthusiasm during these sessions.”
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