Local MP Drew Hendry has praised local communities for their warm welcome to Ukraine refugees who have settled in the area.
Mr Hendry’s comments come on Ukraine Day (Wednesday, 24th of August) and following a recent meeting with Badenoch and Strathspey Minibus Association (BASMA) to discuss the group’s ongoing efforts to support local Ukrainian families who have settled across Badenoch & Strathspey.
BASMA launched a “Help our Ukrainian Refugee appeal” earlier this year to support those fleeing Ukraine.
They have helped dozens of Ukrainian families settle into their new lives and routines.
Grantown’s YMCA has also provided spaces to facilitate get-togethers for Ukrainians and host families.
Similar groups have been set up across the Highlands, with Ukraine families receiving support and welcome from volunteers, businesses, and other local community groups.
Over 100 refugees have settled across the Badenoch and Strathspey area, many staying with volunteer host families.
Commenting Mr Hendry said:
“As we reflect on Ukrainian Independence Day today, I want to pay tribute to the welcome our communities have extended to Ukraine families and to those families themselves who have found some semblance of peace here in local towns and villages.
“I cannot imagine the heartache they have endured over these past months.
“I was privileged to meet with some of them at a recent event put on by Badenoch and Strathspey Minibus Association (BASMA).
“They have endured such heartache to reach here, and it was touching to hear of the kindness and warm welcome they have received from our communities.
“It is remarkable to see how quickly they are making their homes here and rebuilding their lives.
“I was chatting with one young woman who has already taken up learning Gaelic and another young man looking forward to beginning university this coming year.
“It is six months since the start of Putin’s brutal attack on Ukraine, and, behind their cheery smiles, their ordeal continues.
“It is heartening to see our local community rallying around them until they can be reunited with their loved ones in Ukraine.
“We should feel proud that so many families have found their way to our part of the world, thanks to the selflessness of local host families.
“BASMA and groups and volunteers across the Highlands are making a huge difference in these people’s lives when they need kindness the most.
“They aren’t only creating social spaces for folk to mingle and putting on events to welcome folk; they are also offering practical help with visas, day-to-day life admin and much more.
“Time and time again, when our local communities are asked to stand up and help those in need of support, they exceed all expectations – that should make us all very proud.”