Family of seven who fled war-torn Ukraine take refuge in Cumbria with help of strangers

Tanya Mulholland has welcomed her family into her home in Cumbria. Credit: Tom Kay

A family of seven who fled war-torn Ukraine and sought refuge in Cumbria have been helped by the generosity of strangers.

Tanya Mulholland, of Newton Reigny, near Penrith, welcomed her relatives to the region following their escape from Kyiv and a subsequent lengthy journey across Europe.

They have been able to make good use of £1,000 from Cumbria Community Foundation's Welcome Fund, which supports refugees and asylum seekers arriving in Cumbria.

Tanya said she was "grateful" to those who donated to the fund which has helped her since taking in her mum, aunt, sister, nephew, cousin and her two sons in April.

"We are so grateful to everyone who has donated to the Welcome Fund," she said, adding: “It has been a major help with just basic things, but also has helped my nephew study online so that he can take part in an emergency programme to complete his exams and finish his studies.”

Tanya has lived in the UK for 15 years since meeting her husband, David, two decades ago when she was a travel agent in Kyiv and he needed help to change his travel tickets.

Three male members of the family were left behind to fight with the Ukrainian army.

Tanya added: “I am so happy to have them here and safe though there are tears every day for those left behind."

Tanya Mulholland with her nephews Volodimyr (standing) and Ivan (sitting), her aunt Larisa, cousin Galya and mother Nadia. Credit: Tom Kay

The family is one of seven to have been helped by the Welcome Fund, which was established in 2017.

It has now paid out more than £4,000 to help those most in need, with Ukraine families among the most recent beneficiaries.

The fund brings together donations from individuals and groups in the community, as well as businesses, charitable trusts and other organisations.

The money is distributed in several ways, either as hardship grants to those who have moved to the county and have needs which are not covered by the Government, or to local community groups and partnerships who are providing a vast range of services and support.

In Figures:

According to Cumbria County Council figures, there are currently 244 Syrian and 137 Afghan refugees or asylum seekers in Cumbria, and more than 150 Ukrainians fleeing the war in their country.

The Ukrainian figure is higher than this as there are various resettlement schemes takingplace, not all of them facilitated by the County Council.

Andy Beeforth, chief executive of Cumbria Community Foundation, said: “We are humbled by the generosity of communities that are supporting this fund and we understand that many Cumbrian families are facing their own challenges as the cost of living increases and that not everyone is in a position to help."

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