20 Ukrainian guests find a warm welcome

By Ellen Grindley   |   Reporter   |
Wednesday 18th May 2022 9:30 am

Cllr Rosie Dawson.

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DAWLISH is now home to about 20 refugees from war torn Ukraine with more expected in the coming weeks.

The first arrived about four weeks ago and the latest, a mum and her children, in the last few days and hosts include families and individuals in both Dawlish and Cockwood.

Posters and the Ukrainian flag flown at the Brunswick and Gresham Inn pubs have been a welcome sight for the new arrivals.

As well as settling into their host homes, the refugees also have been helped to complete initial administration requirements.

This includes finding school places for children which is being co-ordinated by Devon County Council.

Rosie Dawson, one of the volunteers spearheading the effort to welcome the refugees who has opened her own home too, says the new coming families have a lot of adjustment and administration to deal with.

One of the main issues is the language barrier which, while many of the refugees have some English, they sometimes have to rely on a translator app on mobile phones to help.

Some of the arrivals have already secured jobs with hospitality employers making contact to offer employment.

Rosie said: ‘People are getting adjusted. One arrived with an urgent medical need which was immediately assessed and treated.

‘Barton Surgery has been brilliant.’

She also praised Teignbridge Council’s housing department staff for their efforts to help.

Plans are also being put in place to support meeting places for the Ukrainian new comers to get together.

Rosie said: ‘There are ways of making sure they know they are not alone and can meet and make friends.’

Meanwhile, the Dawlish and Teignmouth Homes for Ukraine group is also organising specific support for refugees and their hosts.

An evening arranged to help the refugees attracted more than 40 people.

The aim is for individuals and families to make contact with each other and share information.

New English classes will be starting to teach the Ukrainian guests, including classes for children, beginners for adults and adult conversation classes.

Efforts are also being made to find employment as well as filling in forms for benefits and other ‘daunting’ administration requirements.

Individual requests are also being made for clothing items and job vacancies.

Organiser Jody Merelle said efforts are going on to help support both hosts and their guests.

She said welcome packs and toy packs are being made available according to individual needs.

Inset: Rosie Dawson’s daughter Kitty hands out welcome posters to shops in the town.

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