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Spreading Christmas cheer to children from Ukraine

Norfolk County Council, 19 December 2023 00:00

Children and families who have fled the war in Ukraine are benefitting from three special Christmas events in the next few days, supported by Norfolk County Council.

Ukrainian teenagers will be holding a Christmas party tomorrow (Wednesday 20 December), before enjoying a Christmas themed workshop of performing arts and set design at The Garage, Norwich, on Thursday and Friday, organised in partnership with Active Norfolk Big Norfolk Holiday Fun, The Garage and The Feed. At the end of the workshop, the children will be performing for their families

The council's Ukrainian Parent Champions are also preparing to host a Christmas Party on the 28 December for children aged 10 years old and under, where they will have the chance to create a Christmas tree and Christmas decorations, colouring Christmas gingerbread, enjoy a disco and even receive a gift.

Councillor Penny Carpenter, Cabinet Member for Children's Services, at Norfolk County Council, said: "These children and their families have left behind their home, family members and livelihoods and we want to give them a chance to celebrate Christmas, while understanding that this is a particularly difficult time of year for those who have left behind or lost loved ones.

"Our Ukrainian support programme has been very much led by the families themselves, with Ukrainian teachers joining our workforce and helping us to shape the support we offer. I am pleased to see that many of the children and young people are beginning to flourish here in Norfolk, building lives for themselves that are grounded in strength, perseverance and an unwavering commitment to their shared cultural identity.

"The overwhelming success of the Ukraine Support Team is a testament to the compassion and resilience of our community and the council's dedication to creating a nurturing and inclusive environment for all residents."

Norfolk County Council has supported more than 2,000 Ukrainian nationals, since the Homes for Ukraine scheme launched in March 2022. In June 2022, it was identified a separate Ukraine Support Team was required to ensure families were supported.

The team is a multi-disciplinary team of 16 professionals led by team managers, social workers, family coordinators and family assistants. Their priority has been to strengthen community networks for the 560 Ukrainian children and young people, plus their parents and carers. Families have been encouraged to come together to decrease isolation and loneliness and inspire young people to build peer relationships with others who have had the same experiences as them.

The team has also implemented initiatives to facilitate the smooth transition of Ukrainian children into local schools, providing language support and academic resources. These includes 405 Ukrainian children placed in schools around Norfolk, as well as 48 young people in colleges and sixth forms.

Last modified: 30 January 2024 13:58