Community groups have come together to mark the second anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 

The event, held in Dorchester earlier this week, was put on in support of refugees living across Dorset 

It was organised and hosted by Help and Kindness, in collaboration with Dorset Council’s Ukraine Response team and Dorset Together.

Maryna Dovbysh, a refugee and one of the organisers from Help and Kindness, said: “I am very grateful to the amazing people who have done so much to support Ukrainian refugees during the last two years. 

"We are lucky that we became a part of friendly local community and feel safe here.

 “Of course, I wish this war had never started, but understanding how we deal with the challenges is very important for future.

“I am very fortunate that Help and Kindness offered me an opportunity to be involved in working with communities and that together, we have achieved so much.”

Since the start of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine two years ago, on February 24, 2022, Dorset has welcomed more than 1,000 Ukrainian refugees. 

But as Russian missile attacks on the country continue, for many refugees, returning to Ukraine continues to be an impossible dream.

The event gave an opportunity to reflect on support and challenges for Ukrainians living in Dorset and reaffirm that the county continues to stand with them.

Guests included representatives from Dorset Council, Citizens Advice, Volunteer Centre Dorset, as well as Race Equality Council volunteers and representatives from Ukraine community groups from Shaftesbury, Weymouth, Dorchester, Bridport, Sherborne and Purbeck.

Dorset Echo:

Jon Sloper, CEO at HelpAndKindness, said:  “We were really pleased to be able to host this event and bring together so many people who have been involved in the ‘Homes For Ukraine’ support in Dorset.

“Sharing food and stories and reflecting on the highs and lows of the past two years together was a wonderful experience. We will continue to offer our support during these uncertain times and link up the goodwill and help on offer in our communities with those that need it.”

 700 Ukrainian refugees are currently living in Dorset, and part of a thriving Ukrainian community with a number of Ukrainian businesses, craft and food markets as well as regular large-scale Ukrainian events.

For many of the refugees, the challenges they faced on arriving in UK have shifted from immediate need for accommodation, navigating the benefit system to more long-term solutions such as stable employment and self-employment, pursuing training and qualifications as well as more permanent housing options.  

Councillor Laura Beddow, Dorset Council’s portfolio holder for culture, communities and customer services, added: “As we mark the second anniversary of this conflict, we continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with the people of Ukraine, and reaffirm our commitment to those fleeing the conflict in their homeland.

“Thank you Help and Kindness for organising this event and for reminding us of the power of coming together and making a positive impact.”

There is still a need for more hosts and landlords who have spare rooms or properties to support Ukrainians in Dorset though. 

A recent survey showed that 94 per cent of hosts have found it to be a very rewarding experience, and 93 per cent of Ukrainians have had a very positive experience of settling in Dorset.

To find out more about becoming a host call  Dorset Council’s Ukraine Response Team on 01305 221000 or for more information visit