Thank you for your support, says Ukrainian refugee - The Solihull Observer

Thank you for your support, says Ukrainian refugee

Solihull Editorial 29th Feb, 2024   0

A UKRAINIAN refugee has spoken about the opportunities on offer across the West Midlands since he sought sanctuary from the conflict.

Vitalii Lun and his family arrived in Birmingham in 2022 last year and started learning English in August 2023.

Shortly after his arrival he took part in a English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) training courses where refugees can acquire English language skills alongside job-specific training.

The course was funded by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) which invested £15.2million into the scheme from the Adult Education Budget (AEB) in 2022/23.

Vitalii said: “The course has been really helpful. When I was back in Ukraine, I was a videographer, but when the war started, everything I had worked for had gone.

“The ESOL course has helped me to grow my business and I am now a self-employed videographer. My English has improved, and it is helping me to find new clients.

“I want to say thank you for the support that is there for Ukrainian people, because in hard times you feel everyone’s support very strongly.”

Vitalii is just one of the 2,242 Ukrainian refugees who have found a host family in the West Midlands in the two years since the Russian invasion.

Residents across all seven council areas in the West Midlands Combined Authority area have generously offered families and individuals fleeing the war with a place to stay as part of the Government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme.

A total of 200,000 Ukrainians have arrived in the UK since the start of the conflict. The vast majority of those are women and children.

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “The UK has helped to lead the way when it comes to international support for Ukraine, and the people of the West Midlands have shown incredible generosity in welcoming Ukrainian refugees to our region.

“We remain as committed as ever to supporting those Ukrainians seeking sanctuary from the terrible conflict that continues in their homeland. While providing safe haven is essential, we believe true support goes beyond just housing.”

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