Pictured are Steve Thurgood, Jackie Rees, Anna and her daughters Arisha and Varya, and Bob O’Hagan
When Jackie and her daughter Victoria heard of the plight of Ukrainian families forced to flee their country following the Russian invasion, their first thought was to see if they could help. They offered to host families who have been allowed to enter the U.K under the Homes for Ukraine scheme, and since early May, Anna and her daughters Varya and Arisha have been living with Jackie and her husband Paul in the Tenby area, having escaped the horror of war, while her husband remains in Kyiv.
Anna taught English back in Ukraine and can communicate with some of her students via the internet. Her girls have quickly been found places in local schools and are beginning to settle in. Anna doesn’t know what the future holds but said that she couldn’t have been placed with a more considerate host than Jackie. She said that she and other Ukrainian families are so grateful for the kindness they have been shown, and she has found local people so friendly and sympathetic.
So far over a dozen Ukrainian families have found homes with hosts in the local area, with more families arriving in the coming weeks.
Upon realising the amount of interest in their Facebook page, Support for Ukrainians – Tenby and Surrounding Areas, Victoria and Jackie realised that there was a need for a local meeting point. The New Hedges Hub was set up and is held at New Hedges village hall every Wednesday between 3pm and 5.45pm, and there is a group of local volunteers who all play their part in supporting the hub, Ukrainian families, and host families.
The hub is actively seeking donations to purchase essential items and help fund events for the families, so when a friend of Jackie’s heard about the hub, she contacted Steve Thurgood, the Charity Steward of Tenby Lodge, and it was quickly agreed that a contribution could be made from charity funds. Steve and his wife Jean, along with past master Bob O’Hagan and his wife Gill went along to a hub gathering, chatted to Anna and Jackie and gave a contribution of £350.
Steve said “what Anna and her girls, and other Ukrainian families have suffered is almost unimaginable to people in the U.K. It is heart-warming to know that Jackie and others like her in Pembrokeshire are making these families welcome, and Tenby Lodge is happy to contribute to that welcome.”
If you would like to contribute to the hub fund or if you are able to offer any help, please contact Jackie Rees by email at SUTSA2022@gmail.com