School launches appeal tohome Ukrainian refugees

Sunday 27th March 2022 11:00 am
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A SCHOOL has launched a fundraising appeal to help renovate an unused bungalow in its grounds to host a refugee Ukrainian family.

St Mary’s RC Primary School in Bulwark, Chepstow, is aiming to house up to eight Ukrainian refugees in the property, which is currently used for storage..

Louise Pavia, wife of Monmouthshire Council Cabinet education chief Paul Pavia and mum of head girl Maddie, launched the GoFundMe appeal to get the three-bedroom bungalow ready, and said: “We are all aware of the quite awful situation in Ukraine and the mass exodus of women, children and the elderly into neighbouring countries.

“Together with the support of our local parish St Mary’s RC Church, and the governing body and PTA at St Mary’s RC Primary School, we are planning to open up our school bungalow as a safe haven for Ukrainian families in need.”

Her daughter was interviewed along with other pupils, staff and governors on ITV and BBC about the appeal last week.

School governors chair Phil Cotterell told BBC Wales: “As a governing body we agreed two weeks ago that we’d totally support the Ukraine crisis.

“The support from the congregation has been outstanding, both financially and also offering hours, furniture, cash and their time to do jobs on the bungalow.

“In terms of offering a haven, I think it’s a lovely place to be.

“I’m old enough to remember my mum was evacuated from Liverpool with her family. The Welsh gave her a welcome then in the valleys and the Ukrainians will get a warm Welsh welcome too.”

Head girl Maddie told the BBC: “I love having new students in our school, more people, more friends... more cultures and personalities, it’s really exciting.

“Hopefully if they learn English we can teach them a little bit of Welsh, and they can teach us about what Ukraine is like as well.”

Deputy headteacher Kirsty Stevenson added: ”Wellbeing here is very much at the heart of everything we do here at St Mary’s Primary school.

“As soon as we heard about the terrible crisis going on in Ukraine, and within the wider world, together as a community we knew it was our turn to work together and see how we can support these families.”

To donate, go to gofundme.com and search for ‘St Mary’s Bungalow Appeal for Ukrainian Refugees’.

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