Kilmarnock Football Club hosts local Ukrainian refugee families
Kilmarnock Football Club welcomed Ukrainian families to Rugby Park this summer.
Dozens of children and their parents were taken to the Premier’s pitch and some even took to the pitch ahead of the club’s return to the top flight this season.
“Community is really important to us,” said former Killie defender Ray Montgomerie, “It’s a huge thing [having these kids here] because the football club has a huge role to play in the community.
Many families remained in East Ayrshire during the summer months after the council backed the super-sponsor scheme, providing temporary accommodation for those who had fled war in their home country.
Some children started school before the summer holidays, others will start in the new school year.
“My children really enjoy being at school here and they have already found new friends. They really like the schools and they are very happy here,” said Maria Yosyiv, whose two children are now at school in the city.
“Our children have already been through a lot of stress and anxiety and now they are here, they have a lot of things they didn’t have at home. We can finally relax and we finally feel relieved,” said her sister Inna Zavantska.
Diana Koltosova and her son Mykola are staying with a host family in Kilmarnock.
Mykola starts school in August. The first classroom he will spend time in will be in East Ayrshire.
“He is enjoying his time here, he has new friends who will be his future classmates,” Diana said.
“It took us a while to get Diana here,” said Mandy Murray, who is hosting Diana and Mykola at her home.
“The school has been absolutely brilliant, the kids have sent little videos to welcome him.
“I also have a granddaughter at school, so that’s great.”
All the kids shooting their tapes will start their new schools in the coming weeks – and club bosses hope they’ve found a new group of lifelong fans.