Every Tuesday morning a coffee and cake morning is held at the Ukrainian Club on Royal Terrace for people who have arrived in Edinburgh from Ukraine to meet, to chat and also to meet the Consul General of Ukraine in Edinburgh, Yevhen Mankovskyi.

Council Leader Cllr Cammy Day visits the Ukrainian Club with the Consul General Yevhen Mankovskyi PHOTO ©2022 The Edinburgh Reporter

The chairman of the Ukrainian Club a member of the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain, Hannah Beaton-Hawryluk, explained that the club opens on Tuesdays between 10am and 1pm as a social space for the community and displaced people. She said: “This gives them a comfortable space to come to where they feel very familiar with and people speak their own language. Here they can come and socialise, and the Consul General is also a regular visitor.”

When asked what they need Hannah was quite clear. The main thing is financial support and the other is food. She said: “As a community here in Edinburgh we try to support the people who have arrived with almost everything that they need. Food is a big need of course as a lot of newly arrived Ukrainians are still in temporary accommodation. We can refer some to the food bank, but on a Tuesday we open our basement area where they will find food, toiletries, nappies and baby wipes. There are always people waiting for us to open each Tuesday morning.”

The organisation has been donated a warehouse at Brewster Brothers in Newbridge through NatWest where they collect donations of aid to send to those still living in Ukraine. Anything which is collected at the club also goes to Newbridge and is then sorted through before being sent to the country which Russia has attacked since February of this year. By arrangement, donors can also drop off food and other items at the club in Royal Terrace, but it helps them a great deal if donations are taken to Newbridge.

What is needed now includes new trainers, food, toiletries, babywear, feminine hygiene products, and large quantities of potatoes and flour. Hannah continued: “Our last truck took eight tons of potatoes which was donated along with a ton of flour from one of the flour mills.”

The Consul General explained that he helps people who have come to Edinburgh with consular services such as printing new passports. He said: “We are printing passports because most Ukrainians fleeing from war did not have their passports. They came here with their internal Ukrainian passport, or kids came with birth certificates. Now they need documents, Ukrainian international passports.

“Food is very important as people are still living in hotels. Not all of the hotels can provide three meals each day so long life food is key, items like tinned food and things which are not difficult to heat or cook. But we need money for the club and our President, Volodymyr Zelensky, announced the United24 online platform through which people can donate. But here people can also donate to the club which is much appreciated. It is very useful as more and more Ukrainians are coming to Scotland with Scottish Government sponsorship. So we need help and support.

“All of us are hoping that we will win the war as fast as possible, but no-one knows how long it will be. Ukraine needs weapons to fight and we will fight to defend our lands and regain our territories. We want to live in a European country.”

Cllr Cammy Day the council leader was visiting the Ukrainian Club for the first time. He said:”I am keen to see exactly what more we can do to help the Ukrainian community here in Edinburgh. I am meeting local people and the Consul General this morning and it is clear that the greatest need is for donations of food and money.

“My first job as leader was to visit the hub at the airport to talk through how we receive people from Ukraine, and the support we give them. This is pretty much a 24-hour service with support and advice, access to benefits information, and how to find accommodation. We are supporting the government sponsorship scheme, locating people into Edinburgh-based families that they can settle in enjoying some kind of normality until they decide what the future holds. The council is working actively with the Ukrainian community and I am here to learn what more we can do.”

Council Leader Cllr Cammy Day visits the Ukrainian Club with the Consul General Yevhen Mankovskyi and meets Olexander Diudiunyk and his fiancee Darea Shyeaievk PHOTO ©2022 The Edinburgh Reporter
Consul General Yevhen Mankovskyi with Lata Lytovchenko on the right and her mother Iryna Lytovchenko Lata hopes to go to university in Edinburgh but said she was finding the process quite difficult. PHOTO ©2022 The Edinburgh Reporter

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