Coventry Cathedral lit up in Ukrainian flag colours.
Coventry Cathedral lit up in Ukrainian flag colours as mark of solidarity and unity.

Scores of kind-hearted residents attended a meeting over the weekend with Coventry City Council and Coventry Refugee and Migrant Centre to offer their support to Ukrainian refugees.

According to the United Nations (UN), an estimated three million people have fled their homes since the start of the conflict in search of peace and safety, with the majority temporarily resettling in neighbouring countries.

Despite the distance, Coventry residents have once again displayed their welcoming nature by offering humanitarian support to Ukrainian refugees.

On Saturday 19 March, Coventry residents attended a meeting hosted by Coventry City Council and Coventry Refugee and Migrant Centre in the Methodist Central Hall to discuss how they could support Ukrainian refugees.

Many residents had already expressed an interest to host Ukrainian refugees through the governments ‘Homes for Ukraine’ scheme, whilst others expressed their desire to provide other types of physical and mental health support through the donation of time, friendship, clothes, and food.

The meeting was attended by over 70 compassionate residents who were eager to welcome Ukrainian refugees into their homes. The meeting provided the opportunity for residents to ask questions and hear about the support that would be offered through the ‘Homes for Ukraine’ Scheme.

Praising the generosity and collective spirit of Coventry residents, Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities, Councillor David Welsh said: “What I witnessed at the meeting over the weekend was the very best of Coventry residents.

“Over 70 people stepped forward to offer their support in whatever way they could to complete strangers, from offering accommodation, to mental health support, the selfless attitude of Coventry residents is what makes this city one of the most welcoming places in the United Kingdom.

“The proud and unrivalled reputation this city has as a city of peace and reconciliation is not down simply to the support services we offer new arrivals, but it is also a result of the selfless attitude and welcoming nature of Coventry’s residents, and it makes me extremely proud to be a Coventrian.

“I would also like to extend my sincerest gratitude and thanks to each and every single Coventry resident who has either attended the meeting or expressed their interest in supporting Ukrainian refugees in whichever way they’re able to”.

Toni Soni, Director of Coventry Refugee and Migrant Centre said: “This weekend showed us that Coventry will not be providing empty platitudes but instead will be delivering meaningful action and support to those who need it most.

“As a centre, we have been a first-hand witness to the difference selfless support can make to new arrivals. It can be the difference between feeling welcomed or feeling ostracised, it can be the difference between full integration or non-integration, which is why this weekend’s meeting was incredibly vital.

“We’re at the beginning of what I’m sure will be a long journey for Ukrainians displaced from their homes, but with the continued support of Coventry residents and our partners across the city, we can begin to help them rebuild their lives in peace and sanctuary”.

Also present were representatives of the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain (Coventry) including Mario Kosmirak, who expressed his heartfelt gratitude to the generosity of Coventry residents in supporting those who were fleeing Ukraine.

Published: Tuesday, 22nd March 2022