Northern Ireland news

Ukrainian refugees welcomed to Co Antrim church

Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council Richard Holmes, held a special reception to welcome 33 Ukrainian refugees and thank volunteers for providing support

MORE than 30 Ukrainian refugees have been welcomed to a Co Antrim church where Sunday School classrooms were transformed into bedrooms to accommodate families.

Hebron Free Presbyterian Church in Ballymoney are hosting refugees forced to flee their homes following the outbreak of war with Russia.

Church members rose to the call for help, working tirelessly to transform classrooms into bedrooms for 33 Ukrainian refugees with new beds, bedding, window blinds and shower unit all donated.

A washing machine, fridges and hoover were also given to the church as well as food and financial contributions.

The work of the church in providing support has been highlighted by Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, which hosted a special reception for the members.

At a welcome reception for over 30 Ukrainian refugees and their sponsors council launched its new welcome leaflet, produced as an essential guide for those arriving into the area

At the event the council also launched its new welcome leaflet, produced as an essential guide for those arriving into the area.

It contains important information about a range of services including advice centres and local support organisations offering language classes and other social activities.

Recalling his decision to get involved Rev David Park from Hebron Free Presbyterian Church said he "couldn’t believe what was unfolding when war broke out in Ukraine".

"I was in Romania, preaching in a church in Timisoara, when I witnessed the outpouring of aid in preparing the church to receive refugees," he said.

"Upon arriving home my wife Susan and I felt burdened to help and asked ourselves - what can we do to help?

"Susan and I were amazed and thankful for the help from friends and associates, including the translation skills of one of our members."

He added that since the arrival of the refugees, church members have "enjoyed dining and sampling Ukrainian soup, borscht and are honoured to have them in our home and church – it’s truly an amazing story when a church and community come together to help".

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