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Solicitor supports families from Ukraine

A Shropshire solicitor is supporting two Ukrainian families whose lives have been thrown into turmoil by the war in their country.

Debbie Owens and her husband Robin have been providing accommodation to a mother, Luda, and her three children - Yan (aged 10), Zhan (aged 9), and Emma (aged 7) - for almost two years.

The couple are also responsible for coordinating packages of vital items for another family who continue to live in the Ukrainian city of Kiev. The items they collect and distribute, thanks to the generosity of friends, family and colleagues, include clothes and shoes, toiletries, medicines, sanitary items, candles, bedding, tea and coffee.

Debbie and Robin, who live in Whitchurch, applied to take in a family under the Homes for Ukraine Scheme when the Ukraine war first broke out in February 2022.

Debbie, a child law specialist with North Wales law firm Gamlins Law, said: “I was watching the lunchtime news at the start of the war and found it heartbreaking how families were being separated, with mothers and children leaving their towns and cities and their husbands having to stay and fight.

“I said to Robin that we could do something to help and he agreed. If that was our grandchildren, we would want to know that others cared about them in the same way. Our children have grown up and left home so we had the space to be able to accommodate them.”

The children attend local schools and are also keeping their studies going in Ukraine.

Debbie said: “It is really important to them to keep up their studies in Ukraine because one day they want to be able to return to their schools there. It means the children are going to school in Whitchurch in the day and then catching up on their Ukrainian studies in the evenings.”

Debbie is also in regular contact with the family in Kiev, Alona, Serghi and their 11-year-old daughter, receiving lists of items that are urgently needed.

“It makes you realise how lucky we are and helping out in the way we are is the least we can do. We are also hugely grateful for the generosity of everyone who has donated money and items, from my colleagues at Gamlins Law through to people in my local community. It’s a real team effort.”