Ukraine Independence Day celebrated at Town Gardens

By Jamie Hill - 25 August 2023

Arts and CultureCommunity

Hundreds of people flocked to Town Gardens on Thursday (24 Aug) to show solidarity with Ukrainians in our community.

The event was hosted by Swindon Welcomes Ukraine - a group created to support the Ukrainians arriving under the Home for Ukraine scheme, and the festival, called Ukraine Fest, was a mix of music, food and culture.

Swindon Welcomes Ukraine is made up of hosts and Ukrainians.

The festival was held around the bandstand area in the Town Gardens and attracted hundreds of people. 

Chair Sofiia Volovyk said: “We are so grateful to the people of Swindon for welcoming us, and so we wanted to do something really exciting for them and showcase our culture, music, and food.  

"On the day, we had live music which was a fusion of Ukrainian and English performers and songs, Old Town food vendors doing Ukrainian inspired menus, a huge bubble show from a Ukrainian children’s entertainer, flower wreath making, and pop up projects like a Ukrainian inspired photography wall, and some other surprises.  

"We wanted to hold it in Old Town as Town Gardens is a favourite of our Ukrainian community and South Swindon Parish Council were so supportive of what we are trying to achieve.” 

The festival ran from 2pm until 10pm, with the afternoon’s activities designed for families and children. The early evening was switched to more upbeat music and activities designed for adults. 

The committee have achieved significant recognition for their work since the group was launched in March last year.  Sofiia has raised thousands of pounds for charity by walking from Swindon to Ben Nevis, and been nominated for a BBC award.  

The group's bike project has seen over 200 bikes fixed up and donated to Ukrainians, and there are social activities to bring the community together.  

South Swindon Parish Council chair Cllr Neil Hopkins said: “We fully support the work of Swindon Welcomes Ukraine and it’s great that Swindon has opened its arms to refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine.  ?

Swindon Borough Council's Warm Welcome team has supported 343 arrivals from Ukraine since the conflict started. You can find out more about becoming a sponsor on the dedicated web page.

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