Hundreds of refugees welcomed one year after conflict in support of 'inspirational' Ukraine fight
As the world marks the first anniversary of Russian forces invading Ukraine, the leader of Lancashire County Council has spoken of her pride in the welcome the county has given people fleeing the conflict.
More than 1,300 Ukrainians have been homed in Lancashire under the Homes for Ukraine scheme since the first person arrived on 25 March, 2022, just nine days after the Government announced the policy.
Since then, the council's Customer Access Service has launched its Homes for Ukraine Team with Ukrainian speakers, ensuring the needs of the Ukrainian community are met.
Viktoriia Murych, a Business Support Officer at Lancashire County Council, is one of those resettled via the Homes for Ukraine scheme.
She said that she feels very motivated by her job at the council, and how important it is that she can help other Ukrainians.
She said: "I feel very safe and secure in Britain. I feel like this is a healthy society. I like England, I like how rules work here, I love the ability to be useful and I would prefer to stay here because it's a very safe, interesting country with rich history and nature.
"But still, nothing has changed in Ukraine. My mother is right on the border with Russia; my father is in occupied territory. Lots of people are still arriving from all over the country.
"I haven’t been home in almost a year. I can't hug my parents, I can't hug my cat, I can't sleep in my bed or have chats with my friends."
Many of the 1,360 Ukrainians in Lancashire have now found employment and left their Homes for Ukraine hosts, but the council is still calling for anyone with the capability to offer a home for someone to please step forward.
Lancashire County Council will observe the national minute's silence on Friday, February 24 at 11.00am.
County Councillor Phillippa Williamson, leader of Lancashire County Council, said: ''We support Ukraine's heroic and inspirational fight for freedom and peace and I am proud that Lancashire has been able to step up and offer homes and support for hundreds of those fleeing the violent war in Ukraine.
"I would like to thank everyone who has opened up their home to those seeking refuge and remind people that it's not too late to help out and volunteer for the scheme."
If you want more information on how you can help, please contact the team on firstname.lastname@example.org or 0300 123 6718.
Notes to editors
Image caption: Members of Lancashire County Council's Homes for Ukraine team waiting to meet Prince Edward and Sophie Rhys-Jones. L-R: Thomas Procter, Oksana Kolesnik, Iryna Katashynska, Viktoriia Murych, Oleksii Purtov.