A charity supporting Ukrainians in Congleton was appealing for volunteers this week, as refugee families prepared to move into their own homes in the town.
Congleton Town Council invited local hosts to share information and advice with future host families at a meeting at the town hall.
The hosts either have or will soon welcome Ukrainian people to live with them under the Government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme, as they continue to flee the war in their homeland.
Coun Kay Wesley welcomed the group of around 40, saying: “It has been our pleasure to host Oksana, Sasha and Denys for the last eight months.
“Today we moved them into their own new home, and it felt like our own children leaving home again – a mixture of sadness that they are going and joy that they have their own place and can make their future here in the UK.”
Paul Nixon, director of the Congleton Area Ukraine Support Network, explained options for guests to move into their own rented property at the end of the hosting period, and the support that the network can offer with furniture and moving assistance.
He also appealed for more volunteers to support this effort, as many families were now getting ready to move house.
Some 74 host families in the area have now been matched with more than 175 Ukrainian guests, making a total community of more than 400 people.
The town hall event included a number of talks and question-and-answer sessions, with hosts able to share experiences and learn from each other as well as from experts.
English teacher Sarah Spicer explained the differences between English and Ukrainian and gave some tips and guidance for helping guests learn English, a major factor in them getting work and their own home.
Nadiia Holovchuk, a Ukrainian guest and also a teacher, then led a short, fun training session of Ukrainian words and phrases to help hosts communicate with their guests.
Attendee Joyce Halsall said: “It was really useful and informative, plus it was good to catch up with other hosts.”
Alex Davis, a volunteer with network, and a host, added: “Well done, everyone. Lots of useful information to take home and help our guests and ourselves.”
The network has been supporting Ukrainian guests and their hosts since the scheme started, and has run a number of outings and social events such as trips to Blackpool illuminations and Formby beach, theatre trips and a Ukrainian Christmas party in partnership with Congleton Town Council.
Ukrainian guests have made friends in the area. Most of the parents are now working and the children have settled into local schools.
Clare Sheard, another local resident involved in the hosting scheme, summed up one of the benefits of the event, saying: “It was a really useful and enjoyable evening. My guest Natasha, nearly fell off her chair when I said ‘dobroho ranku’ to her this morning!”
To volunteer or make a donation or to learn more about being a host, visit causn.com.
For more information, call Debbie Coxon at Congleton Town Council on 07974 600 901.