2023 End of Year Update

Dear Friends,

This update comes at the end of a very dense and eventful year (much of it very wonderful, some of it pretty bleak) and we have a round of heartfelt thanks to make before ushering in 2024.

Thank you as always to the Hub team: Jill, Rebecca, Suzanne, Henrietta, Sarah, Sonnya, Wendy and Don and to the fabulous team at the Salisbury Methodist Church, where we were generously hosted for 20 months.  During that time we held twice weekly English classes for beginners and intermediates, talked regularly with host families and Ukrainian families, liaised with the Council and other organisations supporting Ukrainian families and held a number of public events. Do visit our gallery of photographs on our website which captures much of what we have all done since March 2022: https://salisburyukrainehub.org.uk/

Highlights of 2023

For us, the highlights of 2023 were:

  • Standing With Giants celebration of the first anniversary of the conflict (which raised 3000 pounds for hospital supplies)
  • Easter stall which raised another 3000 pounds for supplies (well done to our utterly amazing Ukrainian bakers!)
  • International Day on June 20th, when we were joined by other members of the international community in Salisbury.
  • Go Fund Me appeal when we shipped 40 boxes of supplies out to Dnipro for Max Maslennikov to distribute to families most in need.
  • Final Hub session in October when we formally handed the baton over to our fantastic group of Ukrainians who will now hold their own activities at St Martin’s Church parish rooms (weekend Ukrainian school, dance classes, therapy classes, teenage groups, festivals and much much more).
  • Behind the Front Lines: the Civilian Response – on November 24th we organised a fundraising talk with Max Maslennikov, General Sir Richard Shirreff, Raymond Earl Asquith and Oxford and Tim Anstee from Ukraine Freedom Company – see below for more information on the Adopt a Community Initiative
  • St Nicholas Celebration in St Martin’s Church led by new Ukrainian Hub: https://www.methodist.org.uk/about-us/news/the-methodist-blog/st-nicholas-arrives-for-the-ukrainian-children-of-salisbury/

As a footnote to this, one of our fabulous bakers, Valeria, has opened a regular market stall in Salisbury. She is there on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Please do visit VERTUTA and treat yourself! Picture attached to the email.

As we start the new year, we have several dates for your diaries and look forward to seeing many of you in the Market Square, at evening events and at other public events. If at this stage you would like to be taken off this mailing list, please let us know.

Adopt a Community Initiative

Those of you who came to the November event at the Medieval Hall will already know, that the Salisbury Hub has established a partnership with Max Maslennikov, a Ukrainian volunteer based in Dnipro. Max gave us a fascinating insight into his work helping people displaced by the fighting who remain in Ukraine because they are unable to travel further west.

At that event, we spoke of our intention to work with Max to support six villages on the banks of the Dnipro river, where about 1700 people in 1000 households are living without power, regular supplies or even contact with the outside world. We want them to know they have not been forgotten at a time when Ukraine seems to have slipped off the map, in terms of sustained interest and funding.

Before the war, Max ran his own IT business in Dnipro – but within days of the Russian invasion he had abandoned his day job and was helping people fleeing the fighting, by distributing food, hygiene packs and arranging emergency accommodation. The charity he co-founded, Reconstruction Ukraine, has since helped more than 200,000 people passing through, and now supports 3000 permanently displaced people who are unlikely to be able to return home for years to come. Max explained how his small team provides residential care for the elderly and those with disabilities, helps adults to reskill and find new work, and supports adults and children through social activities and education.

There are more than 7.7million people displaced by the war still within Ukraine, supported by about 25,000 volunteers. We are awed by the scale of the challenge that Max and people like him face on a daily basis and hope that we can continue to support the team.

So the Salisbury Community Hub for Ukraine is making a fresh appeal for your support. Together we believe that we can make a huge difference to the people in our six adopted villages which will be both personal and practical.

Initially, we plan to send out household packs with personal supplies using the donations we have received to date – these together with the proceeds of the talk in November, a choral concert and a contribution from the Salisbury Soroptimists add up to £2000 to date.

Later in the year, we hope to be able to support the refurbishment of 6 social centres, to help rebuild a sense of community and interconnectedness in each village.

We will share more with you in February but for now we plan to set up a dedicated mailing list just for this initiative. To sign up, or if you would like to make a donation, please contact Jane on j60rbm@gmail.com and we can give you more information.

As we mentioned above, the Ukrainian community is now well established in Salisbury and is planning a number of events this year. Some of them will be joint initiatives. Most of them will be a celebration of Ukrainian history, culture and cuisine as only the Ukrainians know how!

Please pencil these dates into your diaries:

Dates for your Diaries
  • February 24/25 weekend– 2nd anniversary of the outbreak of war in Ukraine. A weekend of music and writing workshops and a screening of Shchedryk (with subtitles) on the Saturday evening (venue tbc).
  • Easter weekend – Ukrainian Cake Stall in the market
  • May 18Vyshyvanka Day – in the market place. The Ukrainians will be wearing their national blouses (vyshyvanka) and there will undoubtedly be more cakes!
  • June 24 – 29Chalke Valley History Festival – a joint initiative with a Ukrainian tent offering craft workshops, history talks, national cuisine and much more. One member of our community, Kateryna Tsar’kova, will demonstrate and play the national instrument, Bandura.
  • August 24th – Ukrainian Independence Day – activities and venue to be confirmed later in the year

Lastly, our thanks as ever are extended to the Host families many of whom continue to support their original families whether they are still living with them or have moved on.  Huge thanks to new Host families who have come forward to give shelter to more Ukrainians as the war grinds on and residents in the East cannot endure it any more.

On that note and as a final request, we recently received an urgent message from a family in Sumy, right by the border with Russia:

The family consists of a Grandmother, mother and son. The mother is hearing impaired but she does know and use international sign language. They recently lost their home when it was bombed and are desperate to find a place to live in safety.

The family lives in the city of Sumy, on the northern border with the Russian Federation. Their house was destroyed as a result of artillery shelling, the documents were also destroyed, which is why it took so much time to restore the documents. This is a family, a mother , daughter, and daughter’s son, grandson. The daughter is disabled, she hears and speaks poorly, but speaks the international language of the deaf and dumb. All her life she has worked as a master of the highest category in the clothing industry. Her mother is a trade worker in peacetime. Victor is a 13-year-old grandson, the best student in class, athlete, speaks a little English. Believing Christian family, whose people can be seen every Sunday in the local church.

If anyone is able to offer this family accommodation, please let Jane know on j60rbm@gmail.com

And in the last couple of days we received another urgent request from one of our Ukrainian families in Downton.. The grandfather has been in the UK for the past year (living separately from his daughter and grandson but helping out with childcare). Due to the ill health of his host family he needs to find another host family in the Downton/Woodfalls area. If anyone is able to host or rent a room, please get in touch with Jane.

With warmest wishes for the year ahead and we look forward to seeing many of you during the year.