24 May 2022

Laois Offaly town a bridge of help to Ukraine

Support group set up to help the country and refugees

Laois Offaly town a bridge of help to Ukraine

Olha Hollingsworth has a son in Ukraine fighting for his country's freedom -her adopted Portarlington wants to help

A special event takes place this weekend in Portarlington to help the people of Ukraine who have suffered due to the invasion ordered by Vladimir Putin.

Apart from rallying to the support of the war torn country, local people are also anxious to support a local Ukrainian woman, Olha Hollingsworth is originally from Kyiv.

While she is living in Ireland, her son Ruslan was an office manager in Kyiv but was drafted in as an officer in the army when the invasion started.

To support Olha, her son and her country people, an event takes place on Sunday, March 20 in Parochial Hall on Market Square.

They'll be collecting pyjamas, socks, underwear and shoes to go direct to the border of Poland/Ukraine where they are been distributed direct to refugees crossing the border.

There will be some artwork and crafts for sale as well as any goods people would provide. Also showing is Kachalka and a QA on the film produced by Portarlington native and film maker Ken Wardrop.

It was made in Kyiv during 2020. There'll be a Q&A with Seamus Duggan.

A Portarlington Ukraine support group has also been set up. They explained why the Laois Offaly community has responded to the crisis on social media.

"We have all seen the devastation that is occurring in Ukraine in recent weeks which is overwhelming. We, as a local group, have set up this page with the aim of providing information to the local community and also to the Ukraine refugees who may arrive to Portarlington in the coming weeks in an effort to Co-ordinate and help with their integration into our community," they say.

Their new facebook page will contain important links/information and will also act as a central communication tool for updates with regards to support for those who come from Ukraine.

The organisers say it will also be used to co-ordinate community efforts by having a page for information sharing. There will be various supports that will be needed for our Ukraine Visitors (accommodation, medical, psychological, education, transport, language, integration and social welfare, to name a few).

A public meeting was held on March 7 to discuss supports that will be provided by Government/statutory organisations and also what supports that we, as a community, can help with. These meetings will continue to take place frequently so please get involved where you can.

"Please do not underestimate how a small deed can have a massive impact," say the orginisers who asked people to like and share this page to keep updated and help where needed.

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