Celebration of work helping Ukrainians in Edinburgh receives Royal visit

Their Royal Highnesses, The Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh, today (March 10), attended a reception at the City Chambers to recognise and celebrate the city of Edinburgh’s work in supporting Ukrainians.

Their Royal Highnesses were also attending to thank the diverse range of volunteers who are supporting them across the Capital.

During the reception Their Royal Highnesses met the Lord Lieutenant of the City of Edinburgh, Robert Aldridge, Council Leader Cammy Day, Consul of Ukraine Andrii Kuslii, Hannah Beaton Hawryluk, Chair of the AUGB (Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain) Edinburgh Branch, Paul Wilson, Chief Officer for Volunteer Edinburgh, alongside senior Council officers involved in the Ukraine effort. 

Today marks exactly one year to the day since the City of Edinburgh’s formal response to the war against Ukraine began.  

In that time over 10,000 Ukrainians have passed through our Welcome Hub as the primary entry point to Scotland, with over 3000 Ukrainians making their new lives here in the Capital. Over 500 Ukrainian children are in education across the city and receiving the full support of our services.

Last month, the city marked the one-year anniversary of Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine with a programme of events across the Capital.

The Lord Lieutenant of the City of Edinburgh, Robert Aldridge said:

I am hugely proud of the efforts by colleagues, partners, residents, and businesses in welcoming Ukrainians making their new home here in Edinburgh over the past year. Whilst this past year has brought significant challenges, the city of Edinburgh has shown its resilience, compassion, and character.  

On this momentous day when the Dukedom of Edinburgh has been conferred on Their Royal Highnesses, it is fantastic to have The Duke and Duchess in attendance to meet some of these individuals and groups. This visit is testament to the selfless and dedicated work that has gone on across the city since the start of Russia’s illegal war against Ukraine.

We must continue to recognise the extraordinary sacrifice made by the Ukrainian people over the past year and reiterate our continuing solidarity with all Ukrainians.  

I would also like to make it clear to the Ukrainians who are building their new lives in Edinburgh that this is your home, and we are incredibly proud to support you.

We are grateful for the enormous contribution our new Ukrainian community to making Edinburgh the modern, diverse and vibrant capital city it is today.

Hannah Beaton-Hawryluk, Branch Chair of the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain (AUGB) Edinburgh, said:

It was a privilege to meet with the newly titled Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh, and on the occasion of the Duke’s 59th birthday, today to showcase the contribution of AUGB Edinburgh and the wider partnership to Edinburgh’s response to supporting newly arrived Ukrainians in the city. 

The city’s response has only been possible by partners working together and supporting each other, thank you in particular to the City of Edinburgh Council and third sector partners who we have worked closely with over the last year. We hope the Duke and Duchesses visit today has demonstrated the continuing work across the city and the work of the Association here in Edinburgh.

Paul Wilson, Chief Officer at Volunteer Edinburgh said:

Since the start of the war against Ukraine, volunteers in Edinburgh have been giving their time to help. Edinburgh has been at the forefront of Scotland’s response to the Ukraine crisis and volunteers too have been there from the start.

Whether it be collecting, sorting and dispatching much needed aid, supporting the community activities of the AUGB, providing cultural and welcome activities, supporting English’s language learning or the nearly 7000 hours of volunteering done by Welcome Volunteers at the Airport, it is these volunteers that have enabled our city to give such an amazing welcome and their kindness and generosity has shown the very best of Edinburgh.

Published: March 10th 2023