A Haslemere for Ukraine group volunteer has thanked the community for stepping up to support Ukrainian refugees this year.

The Facebook group – which was formed shortly after the outbreak of war in Ukraine earlier this year – aims to provide support, a home and more for Ukrainian refugees.

Volunteer Jo Mackay said: “The Haslemere for Ukraine group is an incredible example of a community working together, giving up their time for free, to help others.

“Haslemere people should feel proud of their response to the war in Ukraine and to the warm welcome and depth of support that was given to Ukrainians coming to this area.

“From local clubs and groups offering complimentary spaces to Ukrainians so they could integrate into the community, to schools who supported Ukrainian families and pupils, to individuals who gave up their time to teach English or help people find jobs, and most of all to those who hosted Ukrainians in their homes, everyone has made a difference to someone’s life in a positive way.”

The Haslemere for Ukraine group is still looking for people who are able to host Ukrainian refugees.

Jo added: “We continue to look for new hosts to take over the baton of hosting from current hosts, usually on a temporary basis until a permanent housing solution can be found. And we are looking for landlords who would be open to renting their properties to Ukrainians.”

A number of people and groups in the community have rallied together to organise activities and support for Ukrainian refugees.

Jo said: “All Ukrainian guests and their hosts have been invited to join the Rock Choir, which takes place every Tuesday at 8pm at the Haslemere Methodist Church.

“Places were offered for free by the Rock Choir organisers, and for their hosts the Haslemere for Ukraine group is covering costs. Thanks to Sasha Brooks for her support with free places at the choir.

“They were singing Carol of the Bells until Christmas, which is a well-known tune both in Ukraine and the UK so it is a perfect fit.

“We have had a number of Ukrainians join and we hope that by joining an existing choir it will help them to feel more part of the community.

“Free counselling is also on offer. Aga Kehinde ran some complimentary sessions sharing her techniques to manage stress and trauma.

“Crossways Counselling are running free one-on-one counselling sessions for Ukrainians, which is amazing.

“Churcher’s College Junior School have been fantastic and have re-run their shoe box initiative so we could give every Ukrainian child in the area a box of Christmas gifts that have been generously donated by the children at the school.

“We have also run painting sessions thanks to Lucianna at Escape to Art.

“Thank you to the amazing ladies who continue to run twice-weekly English lessons at the Herons every Wednesday and Friday morning. And thanks to the Herons for continuing to provide free space for them to use. The generosity in giving up their time twice a week is incredible.

“The classes are run by Charlotte Maude, Claire Gordon and Nichole Wordsworth. Sue Dickenson has come on board and Carola Brinded has volunteered to help teach too.”