Ukrainian refugees get a Severn Valley steam train trip thanks to support groups
Ukrainian refugees living in the south Shropshire and North Herefordshire area enjoyed a day out on the Severn Valley Railway.
Members of local support groups took around 80 people from the war-torn country on a steam train trip from Bridgnorth to Highley, where they enjoyed a picnic lunch and a tour of the Engine House Visitor Centre, before returning by train to Bridgnorth.
The outing on Sunday was organised by the North Herefordshire and South Shropshire Ukraine Support Group and the Ludlow Refugee Support Group. It was funded by the Rotary Clubs of Knighton and Ludlow.
Erica Garner, one of the organisers, said: "Many of the Ukrainian refugees in the area are now at the point of transferring from living with family hosts to independent living.
"This is a natural development, but can bring many stresses when trying to find an affordable house and furnish a property from scratch.
"This can sometimes mean moving out of the area they have become accustomed to, and moving children to a different school.
"This can be isolating and disorienting - so we hope that events like this bridge that gap and help individual families maintain contact and support each other.
"We are particularly grateful to the Rotary Clubs of Knighton and Ludlow for their encouragement and financial support which made this event possible.”
Olena, one of the Ukrainians, said: “I cannot begin to describe how important this event was in maintaining our morale at such a difficult time.
"Living temporarily so far from our homes and worrying about our loved ones still in war-torn Ukraine can be really difficult.
"So it was wonderful to be able to meet up with other refugees to laugh a little, and also to cry a little, as we shared experiences and time together. Even the rain didn’t bother us. It meant so much, especially for our children who had been counting the days until the trip."