The guests are living in the area under the government’s Homes For Ukraine scheme. The group spent a beautiful sunny afternoon sharing food, chatting and sharing information, giving hosts and guests plenty of time to introduce themselves.
When they arrived in the area the Ukrainians received welcome packs, clothing and essential items donated and supplied by local residents.
A guests WhatsApp group allowed them to connect with and support each other straight away, and another WhatsApp group gives hosts somewhere to share advice and experiences.
As well as adults the group contains many children who have already been welcomed into their new schools.
Anyone considering hosting a Ukrainian family who would like to discuss this with a current host, or who has Ukrainian guests who would like to make friends, can chat informally at The Lodge in the grounds of Bordon Infant School every Tuesday from 9.30am to 11am in term time.
Other events are publicised on the Facebook page ‘Ukraine – Whitehill, Bordon and Lindford’, which also contains links to local and national government advice, as well as offers from local groups and individuals to support new arrivals.
Ukrainian families were given free clothes and toys donated by local people at Woodlands Hall in Headley Down as part of an initiative supported by residents and East Hampshire District Council. The idea was to help families settle into a normal life far from home.
Tetiana, part of a family of three from Ukraine, said: “We came from Ukraine with only one bag. Now we will need a new wardrobe to put all this in. Thank you everyone for so much kindness.”
Cllr Julie Butler, portfolio holder for welfare, housing and community, said: “Many families will have fled Ukraine with just what they could carry, and these clothes have been generously donated to help support them as they settle in the area. I’m immensely proud that the community has been able to come together to help support families who are going through something which most of us could never imagine.”
The remaining clothes are being distributed through local community groups.