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As Lent started this year our prayers, thoughts and charitable actions were very much focused on the war in Ukraine.
As the months have passed, the war continues, and the needs of those fleeing Ukraine remain pressing. With the help and support of our local Caritas network, people from across the Diocese of Nottingham continue to welcome and support Ukrainian refugees here in the East Midlands. Paul Bodenham, our diocesan Caritas Coordinator, has hosted two online ‘Parishes of Welcome’ workshops, to help ensure refugees from Ukraine and elsewhere find a warm welcome in our diocese. Here is a snapshot of some of the good work happening in our Diocese, with regards to this ongoing conflict.
St Wilfrid’s parish, Coalville, are hosting a thriving support group for refugees from the conflict in Ukraine. Every Monday some 20 Ukrainian guests gather in the parish hall, together with sponsor families from the Coalville area and other local volunteers. The evenings give guests the opportunity to meet other Ukrainian families and to build friendships and support networks with each other and local people. The group also received donations, clothing, toys and other provisions.
Young people at St John the Baptist parish in Melton, worked hard to prepare a guide for young Ukrainian refuges who have found safe haven in Melton following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The Melton Catholic Youth Club set to work thinking about what their new Ukrainian friends should know in order to enjoy their stay in Melton. The booklet, translated into Russian and Ukrainian, features 28 pages of useful information and ideas covering everything from public transport to performing arts to support networks in local churches. The group are very happy to share the template for this work, with any parish who would like to adapt it.
Following a ‘Parishes of Welcome’ workshop hosted by Caritas Nottingham, parishioners at St Mary’s Marple Bridge were inspired to host a ‘Concert for Ukraine’ to raise both money for and awareness of the situation in Ukraine. The event at Marple Cricket Club featured five local acts, including a quartet from Stockport Ukrainian Society called ‘Mirage.’ The Concert opened with traditional Ukrainian songs and one of the quartet shared with the audience about the present conditions in Ukraine. The evening was a huge success, raising nearly £2000 for the DEC Ukraine Emergency Humanitarian Appeal of which CAFOD is a partner. And thanks to the generosity of the venue and all the performers, all funds raised went solely to the Appeal.
If you would like to find out more about how to make your parish a ‘Parish of Welcome’ or to share your outreach stories, contact Paul Bodenham our Diocesan Caritas Coordinator for more information.
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