On February 24, 2022, 2 years ago, Russia invaded Ukraine and forced millions of Ukrainians to flee their homes. Leaving everything behind, many arrived in the UK with no, or very limited, English and without any friends or family. Building on our prior experience working with local partners in Ukraine, we launched our Open Doors Ukrainian Refugee Project in March 2022 to support refugees in the UK. Working side-by-side with Ukrainian volunteers, we developed a holistic programme to help them heal from the traumas of war and rebuild their lives. 

Since we began our project almost two years ago focusing on the Islington and Camden boroughs, we have reached over 2000 Ukrainians. By offering English language classes, art therapy, a youth club, group counselling, employment and housing advice and sports activities, we have helped refugees of all ages integrate into the UK.

As the horrors of the war in Ukraine continue, we invite you to read a story of hope and new beginnings from one of our beneficiaries who found support from HealthProm.

Ihor's Story

Ihor Kudelin came to the United Kingdom in September 2022. In Ukraine he is known as a famous artist with his work being showcased in numerous galleries throughout the country. Like many Ukrainians who were forced to relocate, he had to rebuild his life and find a community in a new city. His journey led him to Islington where he was offered a home to stay and support from the Islington Council. The Council refugee support team referred Ihor to HealthProm. He first attended HealthProm’s free English classes and weekly Drop-In sessions.  

At HealthProm, the Ukrainian-speaking staff helped Ihor address several challenges including how to reapply for a lost residence permit, understand the UK housing and benefits system and even with booking plane and train tickets. He not only found support and a community, but an avenue for continuing his life’s passion for art. Quickly, Ihor began leading HealthProm’s art therapy classes for displaced Ukrainians in Islington to support their wellbeing. After volunteering his time to the art therapy classes, Ihor is now a paid activity leader hosting weekly art sessions. Just as in Ukraine, Ihor is also now famous in the HealthProm community with his classes being in high demand and popular amongst Ukrainians in Islington. With HealthProm’s assistance, he not only used his skills but also integrated into his new surroundings, receiving invaluable aid in crafting his CV and acquiring a computer from our local charity partner. 

Ihor’s ‘Big passion for art and expression of vision of life’ shines through not only his art, but through his care and dedication made visible in the art of other displaced Ukrainians in his classes. Through their creations, they articulate a shared vision of hope, resilience, and the pursuit of refuge in the welcoming embrace of the Islington borough. 

Ihor's story and HealthProm's work are also featured in Islington Life. To read the full article click here: Islington Life Article

HealthProm is registered in England & Wales under charity number 1100459 at Voluntary Action Islington, 200A Pentonville Road, Kings Cross, London N1 9JP. We use cookies to improve your experience using this website. To learn more, read our privacy policy.
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