Ukraine support group called 'Hugs' launches in Sheringham

Colin Heinink and Liz Withington, one of the

Colin Heinink and Liz Withington, one of the founder members of the Sheringham area Hugs group being set up to support Ukrainian refugees. - Credit: Supplied

Ukrainian refugees and their host families in and around Sheringham have been invited to join a support group being set up by a team including local councillors Colin Heinink and Liz Withington. 

To be called Hugs - standing for Hosting Ukrainians Group Support - Mr Heinink and Ms Withington said they and a group of like-minded people were concerned that Ukrainians and their host families might feel isolated in the wider community. 

Mr Heinink said: "The people coming to Sheringham from Ukraine will have experienced things way beyond anything we can imagine.

"I felt it was really important that we helped the hosting families and their guests come together and be able to support each other.

"There are people in the community who will be able to help those who have been offered sanctuary in our community.

"This group is  a way we can bring those people together to provide the wider support that our families and refugees from Ukraine may need, such as Ukrainian and Russian  speakers and teaching English as a foreign language teachers."

As well as Sheringham, the group will cover nearby villages including Upper Sheringham, West Runton, Beeston Regis, Bodham, Weybourne and West Beckham.

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Hugs' first meeting will be at the Lighthouse cafe in Cromer Road on Thursday, April 21 at 7pm. The meeting will be a chance for families to get to know each other, share concerns and information.

Teachers of English as a foreign language are also welcome to attend and offer their support. 

Ms Withington said: "So many people want to help the Ukrainian refugees by hosting and offering their homes as safe refuge.

"We felt that one thing we could do was to help support the families who were hosting and also bring them together and their guests to help them support each other."

Norfolk will welcome hundreds of Ukrainians fleeing the war in their country as part of the Homes for Ukraine Scheme, with the first arrivals already settling into new lives in the county. Around 4.2 million Ukrainians have fled their homeland since the conflict began on February 20.

To register for the meeting or offer support, email