Stirling has answered a call to provide refuge and sanctuary for children and young people fleeing the war in Ukraine.
The children, who were evacuated from orphanages in Ukraine, are due to arrive later this week. They will be kept together and are expected to spend some weeks in Callander before moving to Edinburgh.
Stirling Council and charity Dnipro Kids are working in partnership to provide a temporary home in Stirling for the children. Stirling Council staff have liaised with key local partnerships and agencies – including NHS Forth Valley, Police Scotland and volunteers for local businesses – to ensure the facility in Callander is ready to welcome the children and that local supports are in place.
Stirling Council Chief Executive Carol Beattie said: “Dnipro Kids approached us asking for support and our staff responded quickly to help make sure the children have what they need.
“Stirling Council has a proud history of welcoming and assisting refugees. We have participated in the Syrian Refugee Resettlement Scheme since its launch in 2005 in response to the Syrian crisis and we are committed to supporting efforts to resettle Afghan nationals. Now we are stepping up to aid the innocent Ukranian victims of the Russian military invasion.
“The suffering faced by innocent families and communities is heartbreaking to witness and we are prepared to do whatever we can to help them. These children have shown enormous courage to flee the devastation and constant fear they were facing in their own homes to try to integrate somewhere new.
“Our first priority will be checking on the health and wellbeing of the young people and making them feel welcome. After that, we have put in arrangements to ensure they are completely integrated into the community whether that’s going to school or taking part in various activities.
“They will be warmly welcomed into Stirling’s communities where they will find support to get used to their new environment, and help getting to know the country that has welcomed them.”
Alyn Smith MP is ‘extremely heartened’ to see Stirling Council providing refuge to the Ukrainian children.
Smith said: “Stirling Council has always championed Scotland’s shared values of compassion, empathy and taking action to fight injustice. We in Stirling stand with the people of Ukraine in their darkest days, and will act swiftly to support refugees fleeing Russia’s war of aggression.
“Stirling and the nation bid you a warm Scottish welcome to our home – and for as long as you need it – your home too.”
Dnipro Kids board member, Robert Brown, said: “Once I knew that the children would definitely be coming, I immediately contacted the Chief Executive of Stirling Council on Wednesday afternoon and by close of business on Friday, we put together a comprehensive support package.
“The Council deserve a lot of credit for this.
“Both Dnipro Kids and Stirling Council are committed to giving the children a wonderful time so that they can escape the trauma of what they’ve been through, and we can turn their experience into an adventure they’ll remember for the rest of their lives.
“I would urge everybody to keep on supporting Ukraine with donations of cash. Ukrainian men are in the front line of a fight to protect our democratic way of life. We must therefore do all we can to help their wives and children wherever they are. It is going to be a very long haul, so we need to donate and donate and donate.”
Featured Image Credit: Whyler Photos