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Community hub provides focal point for Ukrainians seeking help

A community group set up for and run by Ukrainians in Galway is set to launch a new portal to secure employment for new arrivals to the city.

The group, called Ukrainians Helping Ukrainians Galway (UHUG) is run out of the Westside Community Centre where it recently opened a hub to supply essentials to those arriving from their war-torn homeland.

Archee Kvashyn, himself a refugee who arrived in An Spidéal four months ago, is heading up the efforts and says their hope is to provide a link between employers looking for staff and Ukrainians in search of work.

“What we want to do is collect information on who has jobs and keep this information in the Ukrainian Hub. People who have a job for Ukrainians contact us and we will be able to find them workers,” he says.

Among the around 2,500 Ukrainians who have arrived in Galway since the Russian invasion of their country in February, there is huge experience and a great willingness to work, says Archee.

“We have a lot of different people, qualified and unqualified. Doctors, engineers, builders and many others and we should be able to talk to people who can offer them jobs.”

He says they were working to gather those looking for work into groups with at least one person with good English who will help with communication.

But the issue of accommodation remains at the forefront of their minds, and with hundreds of those staying in Galway at the moment facing eviction from their temporary accommodation in student digs, UHUG wants to help.

Archee says they want to link up those who have space in their homes, or in holiday homes, with Ukrainians who have settled in Galway – many of whom have found work and have children attending schools here.

The international Protection Accommodation Services (IPAS) is working with those people to secure accommodation, says Archee, but there are fears that they will be moved to another area – and UHUG is hoping to speed up the process.

In addition to this work, the group has also secured a location to run a summer camp for Ukrainian children – at NUIG where they will also run English classes.

“The classes are very important for adults. Children pick English up very quickly at school but for older people it is more difficult.

The group has been supported by Galway City Partnership which has recently hired two staff with to assist with the Ukrainian groups with assistance from Galway City Council.

Community Development Worker with GCP, Ciara Coy, says they assist community groups across the city and have been helping UHUG to achieve its aims through the securing of space to hold their classes and for their summer camp.

“They also have regular coffee mornings for Ukrainians in Galway to meet up with each other.

“We now have two workers, hired with funding from Galway City Council, to carry out the work with Ukrainians under the he Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme (SICAP) and we are hoping to employ two more,” she says.

For those looking to support UHUG through the provision of work and/or housing, contact Archee by emailing

(Help at hand: Archee Kvashyn (front, in blue hoodie) and some of his Ukrainian colleagues at Westside Community Centre. Photo: Joe O’Shaughnessy).

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