Dukinfield couple help Ukrainian family to settle in Tameside

Date Released - 10/08/2022


A COUPLE have told how they have successfully offered refuge for a Ukranian family with the support of Tameside Council.


Pam and Chris Smith have helped refugees Nataliia and Yana Kliutchnik settle into their Dukinfield home and life in Tameside through the Homes for Ukraine scheme.


The couple said they were delighted with the support they received from Tameside Council throughout the process of becoming refugee hosts.


Chris said: “We want to thank everyone – education, schools, social services, safeguarding and more.


“Their kindness and help has been wonderful and given with great dignity. Other host families for refugees in the borough have echoed these remarks.”


Chris said Nataliia and Yana are settling well into life in Dukinfield.


He said: “Nataliia is picking up English quite quickly. Google translate has been really helpful with communicating, and Yana has a good start in English already”.


Chris shared that the families have been learning about each other’s cultures: “We went to Orthodox Catholic Mass at the Ukrainian Centre on Sunday. Then they made us borscht for lunch and it was particularly good. So, in response, I made hash. They clearly approved as they left clean plates but avoided the mushy peas and Henderson’s Relish!


“They continue to marvel at some of our British habits of drinking tea with milk, men cooking food, no one walking much (using cars all the time), wearing shoes into the house and the politeness of strangers. On a recent walk with Pam, Nataliia asked how did we know all the people that we passed – as we had said hello to everyone!” 


The family have helped the refugees to adjust to their new life and have provided much needed emotional support to the pair:


“Nataliia & Yana are thriving here after almost three months in Dukinfield,” said Chris. “Life has changed for us all and Pam and I are enjoying the variety of fresh challenges that arise. Yana finished the school year with a glowing report from her primary school in Stalybridge. She excels at all subjects and even is progressing well in English.


“I’ve seen photographs of Yana sleeping on air-raid shelter floors in Ukraine so I expect we will all have many more tears before she and Nataliia return home.”


Cllr Vimal Choksi, Executive Member for Towns and Communities said: “I am incredibly proud of the support given by our Tameside residents to those who are fleeing war in Ukraine and want to thank them for their compassion and kindness.


“Our refugee support service at Tameside Council has worked hard to both provide support for incoming refugees to find them safe, supportive accommodation where they are warmly welcomed into our Tameside community as well as supporting the host families. This is just one of the many success stories and I’m pleased to see our collaborative work with the community making a positive difference”.


If you would like to find out more about becoming a host for Ukrainian refugees in Tameside, visit: https://www.tameside.gov.uk/supportukraine