RESIDENTS of Lymm have again shown their community spirit in a heart-warming response to the plight of refugees escaping conflict in Ukraine.
As the horrific scenes appeared in the news, following the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the mass exodus of refugees to countries such as Poland, the overwhelming desire to help in some way spread through the residents of Lymm.
Using social media a number of residents voiced their desire to help, led by local woman Kristen Bender, herself a former resident of Kyiv, and a group began to form.
Echoing the community response that resulted in the “Leave No One Behind in Lymm” group during Covid, a community meeting was quickly organised, chaired by local Councillor Graham Gowland, and with speakers from the village including those with experience of living and working in Ukraine, one of the first applicants to the host visa scheme and representatives from local education.
The meeting was attended by around 100 people all of whom wished to help by either hosting refugees as guests in their own homes or by offering support such as helping match families with Ukrainians or even setting up social groups/children’s groups for families.
Lymm resident Lisa Hughes, who used to work in Ukraine told the meeting “Ukrainian people are such proud and hospitable hosts. I’m so heartened by the response this evening that I want to take a picture of this room and send it to my former colleagues and show them that even though we are a small village, they are in our thoughts and we want to help”.
The meeting also provided lots of practical help on completing the visa application process, travel arrangements and how to get to know your potential families. Warburton resident Sue Davidson shared her experience of getting to know her guests, a mother and daughter from Kharkiv, via WhatsApp including sending pictures and videos of her dog walks so they could get to know Lymm! She also shared important practical experience of completing the necessary paperwork.
Kirsty James from Lymm Sanctuary Hub has offered up the Hub’s support both as a registered charity and as a central location for practical and administrative support.
Lymm Baptist Church is helping Ukrainian refugees, temporarily housed in a church in Romania, link up with local hosts.
Local professional cake maker Tracy Quinn has also raised over £1500 for the Red Cross to support refugees via baking and selling biscuits decorated with the colour of the Ukrainian flag.
Anyone who would like more information on how to support Ukrainian refugees can contact “Lymm & District Ukraine Support Group” on Facebook or email [email protected] .
Donations to support local refugees can be made at www.justgiving.com/campaign/LymmUkraineSupportFund
Donations to support overseas can be made at www.justgiving.com/campaign/LymmUkraineHumanitarianAid