Ukrainian refugees get warm welcome to Mid & East Antrim at civic reception

Mid & East Antrim’s Deputy Mayor has welcomed Ukrainian refugees to the borough with a reception in the civic HQ at The Braid.

Councillor Beth Adger said she wanted to demonstrate the compassion that she, council members and staff, and citizens of Mid & East Antrim have for those who have had to flee their Ukrainian homeland because of war.

Twenty-six Ukrainian men, women and children attended the event where they received a very warm welcome.

Cllr Adger said: “It is heartbreaking to see the fear and panic on the faces of children and all those caught up in this extremely ugly attack, and the thoughts and prayers of the people of Mid and East Antrim are with each and every one of them at this time.

Deputy Mayor, Cllr Beth Adger held a civic reception for Ukrainian refugees at The Braid

“We, in Mid & East Antrim, have been putting legs to our prayers and tonight I am giving a very warm welcome as I open the Parlour to them.”

There are four Ukraine assistance centres in Northern Ireland - in Ballymena, Belfast, Craigavon and Newry.

Officers in Mid and East Antrim have reported that the Ukraine Assistance Centre at The Braid in Ballymena has provided advice and services to 300 individuals to date, including 95 host and potential host families.

Twelve council staff have been deployed to work in the Ukraine Assistance Centre which has been operating weekly on Thursdays since April 14. A number of statutory and non-statutory representatives are also in attendance.

Deputy Mayor Cllr Beth Adger meets one of the youngest refugees from Ukraine at the reception in the Braid

The report said: “The centre has been crucial over the past number of weeks to help Ukrainian refugees settle in the local area and provide support to the host families.”

Advice is provided on key services: immigration; health; education; jobs; benefits and housing and an interpreter is available.