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19 October 2023

Edinburgh College shortlisted for national award for work in supporting Ukrainian refugees living across the city

Edinburgh College has been shortlisted for a national award for its work in providing support to Ukrainian refugees now living in Edinburgh after war broke out in the country early last year.

The College’s measures of support for Ukrainian refugees has been shortlisted in the College Community Learning category at the College Development Network (CDN) College Awards which takes place in Glasgow on Thursday 30 November.

Working in partnership with the Scottish Government and Edinburgh City Council, the College welcomed a group of refugees from the Ukrainian city of Dnipro on campus, providing safe living accommodation and support to the group that would enable them to make Edinburgh their new home.

Through funding from the Scottish Government, 60 Ukrainian refugees associated with Dnipro Kids – a Scottish charity set up in 2005 to support children at the Odinkovka orphanage in Dnipro – have lived in the halls of residence at the College’s Milton Road Campus since March 2022.

As part of the support to the group, the College transformed the grounds to the west of the campus to create a playpark kitted out with football goals, climbing frame, slides and more, to ensure the children could play in a safe environment and feel as comfortable as possible.

To mark the bond and friendship that had been created between the College, its staff and students, and the Ukrainian families staying on campus, the College unveiled a mural at the back of its Milton Road Campus that will serve as a lasting reminder of the support and friendship created between the families of Dnipro and Edinburgh College.

David Forsyth, Dnipro Kids Committee Member, said: “Dnipro Kids Charity could not have provided the extraordinary accommodation and support to this unique group of cared-for children and their house-parents from Ukraine without the unstinting support we have received from Edinburgh College.

“The College has helped our charity to provide the Dnipro Kids with the best possible support at a very difficult point in their lives. It isn’t just provision of accommodation, catering, leisure and educational support that has been exceptional, but the spirit of support, the never-ending patience shown to our group by staff and students. It has amazed us and we are so grateful.”

In addition, the College has also provided support to other Ukrainian refugees living across the city through a variety of other projects, offering around 250 places on courses at the College, which will enable many to develop the English language skills to enable them to go on to further study or gain employment.  

Finally, the College also helped fund a project to train ten women Ukrainian refugees, who were residents on the MS Victoria, to achieve the IELT (International English Language Testing System) qualification, to improve their English language skills and achieve the recognised qualification that has enabled them to be able to teach ESOL courses to other Ukrainian refugees living in the city.

Edinburgh College Principal Audrey Cumberford said: “We were deeply saddened to learn about the events that unfolded in Ukraine early last year and were committed to doing whatever we could to help support those who were affected by the situation.

“Together with our partners, we were pleased to be able to welcome families associated with the Dnipro Kids charity to Edinburgh and provide accommodation for the group at our student halls, as well as offer a range of English language training to help the group and other refugees from Ukraine living across the city settle into life in Scotland.

“I would like to thank everyone who has been involved in supporting those affected by the war in Ukraine and for welcoming them into our college community. It’s great to see all of their hard work and dedication receive this recognition.”