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Ukrainians in Northern Ireland Community group

16th March 2023

We were delighted yesterday to host, at HQ, along with their local advocate, Alan Moore, representatives of the Ukrainians in Northern Ireland community group, who have settled here as a result of the situation in their home country. Far from home and feeling the need to support, in whatever way they can, their families and friends who remain in Ukraine, this group has been busy raising funds to send supplies and aid back to their homeland. They recently made a request for a decommissioned ambulance from NIAS and yesterday we were delighted to be able to provide one of our old vehicles which we hope will be of some use in whatever part of Ukraine it eventually arrives.

Our Chief Executive, Michael Bloomfield spoke of how humbling it was to be able to help in “this very small way”. He spoke of how, like the rest of the world, we had watched with great sadness at events as they unfolded, just over a year ago. He told our new friends that once we were approached by DoH about the possibility of making an old ambulance available, he personally felt that it was only right that we helped in whatever way we could and he was delighted to welcome them here and for us to be able to hand the vehicle over.

Nicole Lappin, NIAS Chair, welcomed the group in their native tongue and talked of how sad we all feel and that we hope for better tomorrows for them, and for their families still in Ukraine.

Oleg Shankaruk, Chairman of the group, was accompanied by Kathryn’s Zaichyk, Anastasia Sakhnenko, Andria Cherpanuk and Victoria Kovtun, and talked of how grateful the Ukrainian Community are to the people here who have taken many of their compatriots into their homes and others who have reached out the hand of friendship. They  also are humbled by the care, love and kindness which has been shown to them.

Michael also presented Oleg with a framed print of a painting by one of our own Paramedics, Emma McClughan. Emma painted this scene during Covid. The scene represents the strife which we all encountered during the pandemic and has, as two of its main themes, a rainbow representing hope for the future and an angel to look after us and keep us safe. We think that this easily transfers across to the much more serious and dangerous situation in Ukraine and we wish the same for our new friends – hope and safety, and that one day they will be able to travel home to live in a land free of fear and full of peace. We also know that the ambulance which is now theirs has witnessed much healing and life-saving and we hope that the spirit of all who have worked in it will travel with it and hopefully be of huge benefit to those whose lives are in imminent danger.