‘I don’t feel alone in this world’ Ukrainian refugee hails Bristol community support

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Oleksandra, 26, came to the UK from Odessa in April. But instead of finding herself feeling lonely in a new city, she’s been attending one of 16 hubs set up across Bristol to support refugees.

When Russia invaded her country, she said that she felt her “life and future were over” but coming to the UK and visiting these hubs have made her feel like she is “not alone in this world”.

She told the BBC: “You feel like you are part of a big Ukrainian family. I left my family because they refused to leave, but they pushed me to go. It has been difficult, but there is so much support here in Bristol.”

Nataliia fled western Ukraine with her two young sons, who were terrified of missiles flying over their home.

She said: “It’s also a chance for us to meet other Ukrainians and for the kids to play with other kids.”

Bristol City Council is helping to support around 600 Ukrainians who have arrived in the city and said it was doing what it can to help those in need.

Councillor Helen Holland, cabinet member for adult social care, said: “We can’t imagine what people have had to go through.

“They can come here and talk to other Ukrainians who have had similar experiences and tap into the support that Bristol is giving.”

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