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Learning services help Ukrainian guests mark Easter at painting event

(L to R) - Alla, Anna & Alexia (Children at the front), Charlotte Elgar (Sponsor family in red), Nikki Stearman (Community Learning Manager)  , Natalie Buck (Curriculum and Partnerships Development Manager)  and Yana (Ukrainian speaking volunteer) Published Tuesday, 26th April 2022

The first welcome event for Ukrainian guests has been held by Worcestershire County Council, as part of the wider efforts to support families arriving in the county from the war-torn country.

Around 20-25 people attended the drop-in workshop held at the Fairfield Learning Centre in Worcester – five families who have welcomed Ukrainian guests into their homes in the past few weeks and some of the guests themselves.

The session was held by Worcestershire County Council’s Learning Services Team and it was the first of its kind in the county.

Natalie Buck, Curriculum and Partnerships Development Manager at Worcestershire County Council, said: “We were thrilled that so many people attended the event and made it a huge success.

“We hope everyone had a lovely and enjoyable time. Big thanks to our art tutor David Hull-Blanshard, Community Learning Manager Nikki Stearman and Yana Albal, a Ukrainian speaking volunteer to make this event happen.”

At the session, sponsor families and their Ukrainian guests were introduced to an old and beautiful Ukrainian tradition of painting eggs (Pysanki) for Easter, which was celebrated on April 24.

The families were also invited to try the traditional Ukrainian Easter bread (Paska) and to plant sunflower seeds, the national flower of Ukraine to show support for those affected by the conflict.

Council leaders across Worcestershire are welcoming Ukrainian guests with a ‘One Worcestershire’ approach.

Teams from across Worcestershire’s councils continue to work closely together using their experience of supporting refugees over the last few years, to ensure the county can offer the best experience to those arriving from Ukraine.

District Council teams continue to work tirelessly to ensure that housing checks are completed as soon as possible.

County Council teams are also working hard to ensure the DBS checks needed for all Sponsor family members aged 16 and over are completed as soon as possible.

Whilst these checks are very important, they are able to be done after the Guests have arrived so will not prevent visas being issued by the Home Office for Ukrainian Guests arriving in the county.

The already well established Here2Help service run by the County Council is evolving to help organise and link up those wishing to offer help to those who may need help or advice.

Here2Help has also become the hub for information as families arrive, details of how to access support are included in welcome packs that are being collated for Guests and Sponsors.

The packs contain a wide range of useful local information provided by District councils in addition to information provided by the County Council and other partners.

Anyone who feels they are able to support in any way should go through Here2Help and fill out the offer of help form.

Libraries in each district have also become hubs for residents to find trusted information about how they can help, access a wide variety of information and will also be locations where Ukrainian families can meet and the stock of books that will be useful for our Ukrainian guests have also been increased.

The County Council’s Adult Learning Team is also running Cultural Awareness Sessions for officers (from the County Council, District Councils and wider partners including schools) and Sponsors which have been well received so far.

To find out more about what Worcestershire is doing to help in Ukraine go to the Support For Ukraine webpages of the County Council website.

For more on the range of Adult Learning courses held in the county, go to the Adult Learning pages of the County Council website.