Ukrainian children enjoy summer sports camp in Ditchling

CHILD refugees who fled war-torn Ukraine have been given the opportunity to take part in a summer sports camp.

The summer camp was held for three days at the end of July at Ditchling Cricket Club’s premises in Lewes Road, Ditchling.

The children, who have all moved with their families to towns around Sussex, have been able to play football, tennis, cricket and many other activities.

It was organized by The Change Foundation, a charity that uses sport, dance and music to “bring an aspect of normality into young people’s lives”.

The Argus: Dozens of children were able to enjoy various sportsDozens of children could enjoy various sports

Henry Glynn, the charity’s program manager, said: “The children have responded really well. Basically, children, no matter where they come from, just want to be children. These children have undoubtedly gone through some incredible hardships at such a young age.

“So we can offer them the opportunity to enjoy themselves in a safe environment over the three days of the program. We work with the same group, so we have the opportunity to build relationships with the children and their parents.

“Much credit should be given to the ditchling community, no doubt this would never have happened without their support.

The Argus: Enjoy some cricketEnjoy some cricket

“The locals were very welcoming to the Ukrainian families and we worked with Donna Gunn-Ballard and Kate Allisat after they were introduced to the people of Ditchling by our Ambassador Glenn Ballard who lives in the village.”

Refugees housed at Ditchling, Hurstpierpoint, Hickstead, Burgess Hill, Hassocks, Balcombe, Plumpton Green took part.

Some came with their mothers who made friends and had some time to relax in the sun.

The Argus: Happy Children and VolunteersHappy children and volunteers

The mothers also quickly noticed how the children were able to bond with the coach mentors.

Victoria Pryimak, one of the mothers, was there on the first day.

She said: “We have a Ukrainian community in Balcome, so I’m here looking after my own child and three others whose families have made their homes in the village.

“It’s great that people are doing so much for us and this is the best way to make the kids healthier – both their physical health and their mental health.” I am originally from Kharkiv and left when the bombing started.

The Argus: Play Any Dayplay any day

“I drove across Ukraine for six days before reaching Poland and then I wanted to come to the UK where I can only thank the people for the hospitality and organizing events like this.

“I have another sister and mother in Kharkiv. I speak to my mother twice a day and have sent her some pictures from the sport. She is so happy to see her grandchild busy and most of all to know that we are safe.”

Australian Ambassador to Ukraine Bruce Edwards also attended the event and watched children play Aussie Rules football.

A second camp will be held later this month on August 23-26 at the same location.

Learn more about the charity here. Ukrainian children enjoy summer sports camp in Ditchling

Fry Electronics Team

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