It was a privilege to meet 3 Ukrainian women who are settling in Llantwit
We had a very moving discussion about their experiences of fleeing the conflict and resettling in the UK. I was humbled by Rebecca Ashton, who is hosting and pay tribute to all others who have committed to do the same.
Now that the Vale is welcoming their first Ukrainian families, I am co-ordinating support and asking for your help. I recently met with several hosts and heard first-hand of the challenges that both they, and their Ukrainian guests, face. These are wide ranging and are different for every individual and serve to remind us all of the highly traumatic and personal journey that the Ukrainians who are settling in the UK still have to undertake.
After many heartfelt conversations, the main initial challenges are undoubtedly employment, transportation, language, education and health and wellbeing. In response to this I have written to the Vale of Glamorgan Local Authority, Transport for Wales, GP practices, DWP, Leisure centres, National Trust, BBC & ITV, and local employers amongst many other agencies to ascertain the level of support that they can offer to Ukrainian families. I have been asking for free or reduced entry to gyms, leisure centres, historic and cultural sites, free bus and train passes, subtitles on i-player and free educational resources, to make the transition to living in the local areas as smooth as possible.
I will be holding several meetings next month with hosts and their Ukrainian families. The first will be in Llantwit Major on Thursday 12th May and the second will be in Barry on Thursday 19th May. I hope these evenings will create vital local networks, facilitate access to services and provide information and support where needed. Our Ukrainian guests are willing and keen to work, many are highly qualified though may have limited language skills. If you can offer support in any way either with job opportunities or through other skills and expertise, please do email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
I continue to be profoundly moved by residents of the Vale who have given their homes, time, money, and expertise in helping all those fleeing Ukraine. It is a testimony to the Vale and the community spirit of its residents and will ensure that our Ukrainian guests receive as warm a welcome as possible as they transition to life in South Wales.