New Community Hub Opens its Doors for Ukrainian Guests

MotherSisterDaughter, the community organisation helping to facilitate and offer support to Ukrainians coming to Henley, opened the doors to their new community hub at Trinity Hall on Harpsden Road last week.

Use of the hall has been kindly given by the John Hodges Trust for MotherSisterDaughter for social gatherings and wellbeing events such as yoga, art, music etc. The hall has a nice homely feel with comfy settees and chairs which have been donated as well as a large area for children to play. Each Wednesday, hosts and their guests can join together and have a chat over a cuppa between 9.30-11am.

Gemma Birch who heads up MotherSisterDaughter said, “We have had a team of volunteers that have worked so hard to create the welcoming space here. We want our guests to come up with ideas of how they want to make the space their own and the volunteers will help facilitate it.”

At the hall there is also space for storage of food for food bank parcels, welcome packs and there will be an area where donated clothes will be displayed on rails.

Maggie Filipova-Rivers, Deputy Leader of South Oxfordshire District Council said, “Welcoming sanctuary seekers needs everyone’s help; the community, local councils, businesses. We really need to support the people on the ground doing the work. We need to work together in this unprecedented scheme with the challenges that are around it and make the best of it. Gemma is doing a fantastic job and I think ultimately this social interaction cannot happen without a space to meet like this and this can do a lot for people to settle.”

Anfisa from Ukraine said, “It is a good way for networking and meeting each other. Also it can help to be more closer to local people. It’s a good place to share traditions, cultures and such things for understanding each other better and get closer to each other. We want to get people doing handcraft together so we can make these walls beautiful. It’s a good way to learn English at the same time and there are benefits from all sides.”

MotherSisterDaughter are looking for volunteers who would like to help at the Wednesday social or events and/or provide transport for families who don’t live in central Henley. They are also looking for adult and children bicycles (particularly one for a 6/7 year old) and yoga mats. If you would like to volunteer or have donations, please complete the form on the website