Arriving into Kells two weeks ago, Alexander, Nataliia and their three young children had travelled a long way from the Ukrainian town of Ladyzhyn PICTURE: STEPHANIE MCDERMOTT
Isn’t it amazing what can be achieved when communities work together?
Paulstown, Goresbridge, Kells and Dunnamaggin have all really stood up to the mark and showcased this in recent weeks.
These four neighbouring villages have worked alongside each other - Paulstown with Goresbridge and Kells with Dunnamaggin - splitting time, labour and resources to successfully bring two vacant parochial houses back into use for Ukrainian families seeking vital refuge.
Arriving into Kells two weeks ago, Alexander, Nataliia and their three young children had travelled a long way from the Ukrainian town of Ladyzhyn.
As the Russian army started to approach their town they made the tough decision to flee and leave their home, friends, family and possessions behind.
They travelled over 3,000kms via road, by foot and by sea before finally arriving into Rosslare.
In Rosslare, they were met by locals and transported to interim accommodation in Kells as the community worked tirelessly to upgrade the vacant parochial house in Dunnamaggin that they’ll be moving into later this week.
The parochial house, like the one in Paulstown, was kindly offered to the community to renovate for incoming Ukrainians by the Kilkenny Diocese, and the community have since given it a renewed sense of purpose.
The children received immediate help and assistance and were quickly enrolled in schools and clubs locally to help get them back to normal life as soon as possible.
[The Yevsiutin family have been warmly welcomed in Kells and Dunnamaggin]
The communities of Kells and Dunnamaggin have been amazingly generous with gifts, time and funds to help their new guests settle in.
The support received from parish groups, local schools and sports clubs has been overwhelmingly positive and the warmth and generosity has been very much appreciated by the Yevsiutin family.
In Paulstown, a similar story of community spirit has shone brightly and another parochial house has been given a new lease of life.
This parochial house in the village was a major job having sat idle for years and required many many volunteers and buckets of spirit, determination and paint to get up to standard.
A lot of support and volunteers, including many from nearby Goresbridge and as far as Kilkenny City joined the cause.
[Volunteers taking a well-earned tea break after a morning of painting in Paulstown]
The brilliant thing is that the house is large enough to accommodate two families and two families immediately moved into the house last week.
The first family is a husband and wife and their three young sons and the second family is a grandmother, mother and son.
The families have expressed their deep gratitude to the communities of Paulstown and Goresbridge for helping to make this home a reality.
A spokesperson for the parish stated that it would be unfair to name any particular or individuals to credit for the huge turnaround of the parochial house due to the team effort of it all and so many people getting so dedicated and involved.
[The first Ukrainian family to move into Paulstown parochial house, pictured alongside some of the many local volunteers]
“The place was truly in poor repair at the start so making the seven day turnaround was almost miraculous,” they said.
“I’m sure the late Fr. O’Laoghaire is very happy as I am by the wonderful response from good and generous people all over the parish donating their time, talents and gifts to this incredible cause.
“Just as the beautiful spring brightness shone throughout the house these past few days, so too did the light and love of humanity as we witnessed the generosity and love of people with kind and beautiful hearts.”
To off-set some of the costs incurred by supplying the appliances and services to bring the house back to livability so quickly, the parish would kindly welcome any donations great or small.
Donations can be paid to ‘Paulstown Parish Collection’, ‘Bank of Ireland Bagenalstown’, IBAN: IE65 BOFI 9065 1566 1898 70, BIC: BOFIIE2D.
It is truly incredible to witness the best parts of community and humanity shining so brightly.
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