Ukrainian families living in the area on the Ukrainian resettlement scheme enjoyed a traditional Irish Christmas dinner at Denvirs Hotel in Downpatrick on Tuesday night.
The event was attended by over 70 adults and children from Ukraine who are living in the Downpatrick, Newcastle, Strangford and Ballynahinch areas. The dinner was provided by Denvir’s Hotel, who kindly covered the full cost of the food in order to give these families the chance to experience an authentic Christmas meal together.
The event was organised by Denvirs and South Down Alliance MLA Patrick Brown, who himself is hosting a family of three in Downpatrick. Speaking about the event, Patrick said: ‘First and foremost I want to thank Denvirs for their incredible kindness and generosity in putting on this event for Ukrainians in the area. The conflict in Ukraine started in February last year so for all these families this is their first Christmas in Northern Ireland. That is why we felt it was important to put on an event that could bring them together to celebrate the festive season.
‘As well as Denvirs, who provided the food, drink and a Santa Claus for the children, I want to thank Newry, Mourne and Down council, who supported and promoted the event, particularly their ethnic minority support unit and the DEA coordinators in Downpatrick, Rowallane, Slieve Croob and the Mournes. I also want to thank Unit T in Newcastle who helped source gifts for Santa to distribute to the children, and SVP Newcastle, Hales Fruit Shop, St Mary’s Primary School and Surestart for donating gifts.
It was a hugely successful event, and as always I am wowed by the generosity of local people and I hope it helped to spread a bit of Christmas cheer amongst Ukrainian families in the area.’