Two new hubs for Ukrainian refugees are set to open their doors in Cork this week.
Palyanytsya, a free one-stop-shop and hub for Ukrainian refugees, will be opening in the city centre at the weekend.
The Palyanytsya franchise was started in Dublin by Ruslan Mocharskyy, and several branches have since been opened up around the country.
The Cork branch is opening up in Merchant’s Quay, and will provide supplies such as clothes, toiletries and food, free of charge for Ukrainians.
It is being opened by a team of volunteers led by Ukrainians Victor Danylyuk, Lyudmyla Vysotska, Nikita Glumov, Natasha Buckley, Alex Gavrya and Svetlana Zakharova, who have all been in Ireland for an average of 15 years, and with the support of AURI (The Association of Ukrainians in the Republic of Ireland).
“I really hope it’s only open for the short term, three or four months, to be honest. It’s not something that we want to be doing, but it’s just something that we have to do to help Ukrainian refugees,” said Mr Danylyuk.
He said that the hub already has a good stock of brand new clothes, food, and other necessities that have been donated, and he hopes donations will continue to flow when Palyanytsya is open.
He emphasised that it is not a second-hand shop, and that donations of new items are preferred.
Mr Danylyuk said that he hopes Palyanytsya will be more than just a shop for Ukrainians, but a “place for displaced Ukrainians”, a community hub for people to meet a friendly face.
“This is especially for those that don't have anyone in Ireland, unfortunately not everyone can get a host or a house, they are in hotels, hostels, places like in Millstreet. This is something for those that don’t really have anyone here. I really hope it’s going to be a hub where people come in, find information, and just use it efficiently to help each other, while getting some necessary items” he said.
Separately, a new integration and support hub for Ukrainian refugees is opening in Blackpool Community Centre on Tuesday.
The new centre, Together4Ukraine, is founded by Together-Razem, a migrant-led organization that supports Eastern European migrants in Ireland, and will provide a range of free services to Ukrainian refugees in Cork city.
Together-Razem CEO, Voyteck Bialek, said that they have been working to support Ukrainian refugees arriving in Cork.
“These people are fleeing a desperate situation and need help with settling here in Ireland. The Together4Ukraine hub will provide a dedicated support centre for Ukrainian refugees in Cork and will help ensure they have access to the services and information that they need,” he said.