Ukrainian families welcomed at first Walden community event

Ukrainian support: A welcome party at the Railway Arms Pub, Saffron Walden, April 22 on the day of the Orthodox

Ukrainians at the Saffron Walden welcome party got to meet each other, including these two boys - Credit: Celia Bartlett

The first community event to welcome new residents from Ukraine has been held in Saffron Walden.

Ukrainians and their host families from Walden and the surrounding villages had the first chance to meet each other, and meet community supporters including town mayor Richard Porch, and representatives from local organisations.

Walden resident Kateryna Shotropa, who has been spearheading work to raise donations and aid items which her family has then driven to the Ukraine border, organised the event at The Railway Arms.

Ukrainian party to welcome them held in Saffron Walden. Picture shows a group and a table of party food

Ukrainians are welcomed at the party held at the Railway Arms Pub. Kateryna Shotropa the organiser is pictured kneeling front right - Credit: Celia Bartlett

Ukraine support: Kateryna Shotropa and Saffron Walden Mayor Richard Porch at Railway Arms, Saffron Walden, Essex

Volunteer co-ordinator Kateryna Shotropa and Saffron Walden Mayor Richard Porch at the welcome party for the Ukrainian families at the Railway Arms pub - Credit: Celia Bartlett

Ukrainians Oksana and her son Timofii at the Saffron Walden welcome party

Ukrainians Oksana and her son Timofii who arrived in England two weeks ago, at the welcome party at the Railway Arms Pub, Saffron Walden - Credit: Celia Bartlett

Ukraine arrivals: Two women with two children, The Railway Arms, Saffron Walden, Essex

Ukrainians from war ravaged Poltava, Anna with Taisia, Nataliia with Anhelina at the the welcome party at the Railway Arms pub, Saffron Walden - Credit: Celia Bartlett

Kateryna said: "I think it went brilliantly. I didn't know what to expect. I've never done an event like this before.

"All the feedback from the families, the people that have messaged me, they have been really pleasant."

The welcome party included cupcakes and sweet cones in the Ukraine colours made by Cafe Cornell, decorations in blue and yellow, and even an Easter bunny.

Ukraine support party: a table with edible gifts in Ukraine colours

Thoughtful touches for Ukrainian arrivals at the Railway Arms pub welcome party on the day of the Orthodox Easter - Credit: Celia Bartlett

Ukraine welcome party: Adult in Easter bunny costume, Railway Arms, Saffron Walden, Essex

No Easter party is complete without an Easter Bunny! The welcome party at the Railway Arms pub for Ukrainians was held on the day of the Orthodox Easter - Credit: Celia Bartlett

Kateryna said that some families have just arrived, while some have been here a few weeks and are settling in. 

Saffron Walden mayor Richard Porch said: "It was very well organised by Kateryna and her family.

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"It was good to see so many people."

Saffron Walden Town Council has been working to support incoming Ukrainians. They are putting together a practical document to assist new residents, with information such as where to find a doctor or a dentist.

Essex County Council said that Stansted Airport is seeing greater numbers of Ukrainian arrivals, with on average 177 coming through arrivals every day via the Homes for Ukraine scheme (also known as the Ukraine sponsorship scheme).

Up to 20 Ukrainian arrivals per day are now arriving at Harwich, with low numbers also set to arrive via Southend. Although no guests have arrived at Southend, this is expected to change.

Latest data states there have been 803 requests from Ukrainians matched with 544 sponsors in the Essex County Council area. These applications are going through checking and approval.

How you can help

Kateryna continues to collect aid items and her family is preparing for their fifth journey to drive goods to the Ukraine border to support Ukrainians, whose country was invaded in February by Russia, forcing thousands to flee.

She has set up a Facebook page called Saffron Walden Stands With Ukraine, a GoFundMe site to fund the aid journeys, and two Amazon wish lists.

There is also a cash donation point at Saffron Walden Tourist Information Centre. 

Rotary in Saffron Walden collection on May 1

UK Aid, the Felsted-based charity for deprived children, has already sent seven 40ft lorries and three long-wheelbase vans of aid to help Ukrainian refugees who have crossed the Moldovan border at Palanca, Tudora and Otaci.

However, more is still needed. UK Aid is now collecting for another to be transported mid to late May.

Rotary in Saffron Walden will be providing a collection point for much-needed items in The Common Car park from 10am until 1pm on Sunday (May 1).

Rotary’s project lead for the collection John Tapscott said: “UK Aid has an extensive list of items that are needed to support Ukrainian refugees and Rotary in Saffron Walden is appealing to the people of Saffron Walden to support this collection.”

Particularly welcome are new towels and bedding and activity games for children.

The full list is online at www.uk-aid.org.

Cash donations, to assist in transportation costs are also sought and can be made at the Rotary collection point.

Volunteers needed

Volunteer Uttlesford is seeking volunteers to support Ukrainian adults and children arriving at Stansted Airport, to support their onward journey or connection to relatives/host family. See: https://volunteeruttlesford.org.uk/ for details

Community support

The community has been holding events to raise funds and awareness.

Ukraine support: A child eating soup at a Saffron Walden, Essex, fundraiser

A child at the charity lunch held at the Salvation Army Hall, Saffron Walden, to raise money for Ukraine support - Credit: supplied

A charity lunch held at the Salvation Army Hall in Saffron Walden on April 23 raised £295.

Organisers said they want to thank everyone who supported the event and made donations, and Dorrington's who contributed the bread rolls.

All funds will be directed to the Salvation Army for their work with people displaced by the Ukraine crisis.

Further events: If you have an event please get in touch. This page may be updated as further information comes in.