Swindon Ukraine support group launch special beer to fundraise for charity

By Jessica Durston - 20 February 2023

CommunityFood & Drink
  • Ieva Delininkaityte (left) and Yana Shatoka (right) with the batch of beer they are brewing at the Hop Kettle

    Ieva Delininkaityte (left) and Yana Shatoka (right) with the batch of beer they are brewing at the Hop Kettle

Local support group Swindon Welcomes Ukraine have partnered up with the brewery Hop Kettle, to produce a Ukrainian-inspired beer to help raise funds for Ukrainian aid charities.

Swindon Welcomes Ukraine (SWU) was created to help and support Ukrainians arriving in the town, who had been displaced by the war. 

It has been nearly a year since the war on Ukraine started, and the UK government set up the Homes for Ukraine Scheme. This saw citizens of the UK offer their spare rooms to Ukrainians under a sponsorship scheme. 

To date it is estimated that over 350 Ukrainians have arrived in the Swindon Borough, and over 120 people have become hosts of those individuals or families. 

This new commemorative beer that the Hop Kettle and SWU have worked on is set to launch this Friday (24 February), and this initiative aims to raise funds for the SWU's projects and for the Ukrainian aid charities the organisation supports.

Sofiia Volovyk, Committee Chair said: “It’s been so rewarding to support hosts and Ukrainians now living together. There is still a huge demand for more hosts to come forward and help even more Ukrainians looking to find refuge in the UK.” 

The Swindon Welcomes Ukraine Committee, made up of both Ukrainians and also hosts, have been running various projects to support the growing Ukrainian community.  The committee work closely with Swindon Borough Council’s Warm Welcome team which supports the Ukrainians most immediate needs. 

The committee’s projects have included “Bikes for Ukraine’, where over 170 locally donated bikes have been serviced and issued to refugees so they can get access to schools, work and leisure. They have also run weekly meet-ups in partnership with the Pattern Church where Ukrainians can make friends and new contacts. 

Kris Talikowski, Vice-Chair of the Committee, said: “We’ve achieved a great deal in our first 12 months and helped the new community settle into life in Swindon. We’ve been fundraising, so when Hop Kettle reached out to create a batch of a Ukrainian-inspired beer to raise money, we were delighted to work together”.

The SWU say Ukraine has a large beer brewing industry as they grow a lot of hops. This first batch of beer that has been made in partnership with Hop Kettle has used flavours of honey in the brew (a national flavour), and also sunflower seeds, as the sunflower has become a symbol for Ukrainians. 

Andrew Fisher from the Hop Kettle said: “We wanted to do our bit to help the growing community of Ukrainians in Swindon feel welcome, and our small microbrewery at the back of the Tap & Brew in Old Town was perfect for this first small batch brew. If this goes down well, we will lean to our bigger Hop Kettle brewery in Cheney Manor to produce a larger batch we can sell on a wider scale to help raise funds.” 

The first brew is being launched at a “first pour” event on Friday 24 February at 6pm at the Tap & Brew on Devizes Road in Old Town. Proceeds from each pint of beer will go to Swindon Welcomes Ukraines activities, and donations will also be made to Ukrainian aid charities. 

The beer will be called 'Volya', which means 'Freedom' in Ukrainian, and whose letters appear on the trident symbol on the flag of Ukraine. 

Committee member Viktoria Zavalntuk said: “We are so pleased to be able to do something so positive on the anniversary of something so terrible.  It’s been a challenging time to leave the country we love and move to England but I feel so welcomed by my hosts and by the people of Swindon that I wanted to join the committee to help even more of my fellow Ukrainians.”

Those interested can find out more about the committee’s work at www.ukraineswindon.com

Your Comments

Be the first to comment on this article

Login or Register to post a comment on this article

Subscribe to The Link

Registered in England & Wales. No: 4513027, Positive Media Group, Old Bank House, 5 Devizes Road, Old Town, Swindon, SN1 4BJ