At the opening, Mr Harrocks was joined by Natalia Rybak, from the British Embassy in Ukraine, Matthew Carter, Group CEO Depaul International and Father Vitaliy Novak, Chair of Depaul Ukraine.
After words of welcome, Fr. Vitaliy spoke about the founding of Depaul in Kharkiv in 2006 and its journey to becoming a lifeline for the country’s homeless ever since.
Matthew Carter offered words of solidarity from Depaul International and reflected on his visit to Ukraine where he met those being helped by Depaul, especially in villages around Kyiv, some of which were 80% destroyed. The British Embassy has been a great supporter of Depaul, enabling it to run a full-scale humanitarian response since the full-scale invasion in February this year.
Deputy Head of Mission to Ukraine, Nicolas Harrocks, explains:
“The UK stands firmly with the people of Ukraine, as they fight Russia’s brutal and unprovoked invasion. We are glad to continue our support to Depaul, and delighted to see this new centre open. It will provide vital assistance, both to Kyiv residents and to newly displaced people who have arrived in the capital recently”.
The day centre will be a key part of Depaul’s work across Kyiv, which has been heavily shelled, leading to thousands in urgent need of emergency assistance, food and shelter. Not only will it provide the distribution of food and hygiene items, it will also support thousands to keep warm as winter temperatures plummet. As well as offering winter kits, including blankets and clothes, the centre will provide grants for home repairs, financial and practical support for those who whose homes were destroyed or damaged, and legal assistance for those who have lost identity documents.
Depaul Ukraine is increasingly concerned about the mental health of Ukrainians, in particular children and parents who have experienced horrifying trauma. It is hoped that intervention and professional support will address parental stress and the emotional impact of the war, to prevent a long-term impact on children and adolescents. To meet this need, the day centre will be offering specialised psychological support and counselling.
Depaul has over 30 years’ experience of helping people with complex needs, including thousands during the war in 2014, and in the coming weeks and months, the charity will be working with specialist agencies, organisations and professionals to offer this holistic package of support.
To find out more about our work, or donate please go to Depaul Ukraine Winter Appeal – Depaul International (int.depaulcharity.org)