On 8 July Sunflowers Kids Club has celebrated its first birthday! It was an event, full of sad and happy emotions. On one hand, the club’s team and the Ukrainian families that have been visiting the club for a year, felt sad that the war in Ukraine was still going on. On the other hand, we could celebrate the fact that we have created a place that Ukrainian resettled families in York could call ‘our Ukrainian home’.  

Here is a short video of some of the highlights of the concert.

To celebrate the occasion, there was a concert with performances from our children and parents and a Ukrainian choir ‘York and Ukraine Together’. The choir consisting of Ukrainians who have been resettled to York due to the war in Ukraine, have performed 3 Ukrainian folk songs. It was empowering to see how the power of music has united us all: the singers and the audience encouraging everyone to sing together and reconnect with Ukainian culture.

A beautiful exhibition of children’s art works was put together by our Art Teacher, Diana Bila. It showcased creations children have made in our club and pieces they made at home. Over this year, our teachers have facilitated 102 art sessions in our club for children of age 2 to 17. 

Kids art exhibition

Local organisations and members of public who have supported our club throughout the year have joined in this celebration. It has been an honour to collaborate with York City of Sanctuary charity and its wonderful staff: Paul Wordsworth, Rebecca Russell, Svitlana Kucher and Peter Robinson.

Kids art exhibition

Our club has collaborated with York City of Sanctuary very regularly over the last year and half and have delivered a number of projects together in support of Ukrainian refugee children and families in York. Some of th projects were:

  • Christmas market with handcrafted creations and art from Ukrainian mothers and children.
  • Information session for Ukrainian mothers about accommodation in York, delivered by Rebecca Russell and Svitlana Kucher.
  • Art workshop for all children refugees in York during Refugee Week delivered by local artists, including Mandi Grant from South Bank Studios.

It was important to say thanks to the Club’s amazing team of teachers, psychologists and volunteers who have poured the warmness of their hearts, compassion and extensive experience in the lives of Ukrainian families who have been attending the club: Victoria Allan, Rebecca Airey, Nataliia Mishchenko, Kushnir Yulia (who made all this footage), Diana Bila, Dasha Chebykina, Lidiia Shevchuk, Olga Govorova, Lyuba Radchenko, Olga Chebykina, Liuba Mazurkevych, Olena Sydorenko and Olesia Tymokhina.

The club has been a home for many Ukrainian families over this year. As one of the mums have said:

“This is the only place where our kids are really happy!”

We are now closed for summer holidays and from September will be ready to greet old and new Ukrainian families as the Club will open its doors again.

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