Skip to main content Skip to site footer

CLUB: United welcome Ukrainian community

Ukrainian familes join us at Brunton Park

5 September 2022


CLUB: United welcome Ukrainian community

Ukrainian familes join us at Brunton Park

5 September 2022

Ukraine nationals and supporters marked their independence from the Soviet Union with a celebration here at Brunton Park last weekend.

Club chief executive Nigel Clibbens said: "We first got involved in March when the club and CUOSC teamed up with Multicultural Cumbria to support members of the Ukrainian community in raising much-needed funds to assist with the humanitarian crisis.

"The club was delighted to build on that and play its part again, reaching out and welcoming new communities, families and fans to the club. We want to do what we can to help that community. It was wonderful to see everyone here and we look forward to seeing them again in future."

Ukraine Independence Day 24 August 2022

On 24 August 2022 people from all over the world took a moment to celebrate the 31st Ukrainian Independence Day. 

Alla Stocia and Nigel Davidson arranged a celebration at our Neil Sports Centre with the help of local businesses and Carlisle United Community Sports Trust along with dancing to Ukrainian music, food, facepainting and games. 

Alla Stoica, from the Ukraine, who has lived and worked in Carlisle for 14 years said: "We've had a great event today, people laughed, people danced and we had tears. You couldn't have this event without tears, tears were expected because in our hearts we remember our family and friends still in Ukraine. 

"All our Ukrainian communities are very grateful to their local communities and everyone who has welcomed them. There's martial law in Ukraine today which has stopped a lot of celebrations - people have been asked not to gather as there were expectations that Russia would use the day as opportunity to attack. It may be the 31st Independence Day but Ukraine has a long, long history of fighting independence and this has always been a big celebration for Ukrainians - it's been very difficult for the country not to celebrate."

Amongst the attendees was Andrew Bezuszko from Carlisle, whose Ukrainian father settled in England along with 30,000 Ukrainian nationals after the Second World War. He has family living south of Lviv and they are getting ready for what they believe will be a 'hard winter’. Andrew has taken in a newly arrived Ukrainian student into his home.

Andrew said: "With my dad being Ukrainian, my wife and I both felt duty-bound to help the situation, this girl already had her sister staying in Annan already, so it was to bring them together - there was a lot of toing and froing with visas and the likes, but she's settled in quite well and we've managed to get her a job in the town centre - she's loving it.

"I think when it first started I said to my wife, quite tearfully, it's going to be a week or two weeks for the army to go right through Ukraine and stop at the Polish border and it'll be a lifelong fight after that. However, the 42 million people left in Ukraine, they have showed one spirit and it's an independent spirit, and Putin has found that hard to swallow."

Nigel Davidson said: "It was a fantastic opportunity for Carlisle United and the Community Sports Trust to engage and support the Ukrainian community in Carlisle while their country is in such disarray as a result of the Russian Invasion. To meet so many people and hear their stories, for the Ukrainian people to meet and talk in their own language, for them to celebrate their special day, it was all a privilege and a pleasure to organise and I look forward to having them as part of the Carlisle United Football Family for many years to come.”

Carlisle One World Centre funded a sport entertainer for children, DJ Sparky (David O'Callaghan) who provided the music and Ian Brown from Bridge End Inn in Dalston lent the outdoor cooking equipment - to which Alla's husband and owner of Alex's Pasta bar, took up cheffing duties on the day. £320 was also kindly donated to help with costs of the day from Cranemakers pub, after they held a Ukrainian charity evening on July 29. 

Ukraine families join us at the Gillingham game

Following the celebration of Independence day, the club welcomed families from the Ukraine community to the home game vs Gillingham.

The families enjoyed the Fan Zone and met Olga the Fox before watching the Blues win 1-0.

A great day was enjoyed by all, and they will be back to future games.

The group is pictured below with club chief executive, Nigel Clibbens.


The event was organised by Nigel Davidson, the club’s EDI officer and CUOSC fan director, with Alla Stocia. Nigel said: "Having the Ukrainian community at the game was another opportunity for us to develop our relationship with them.

"Some are long term residents of the area such as Alla, with some very new to Carlisle. We wanted to make them feel as welcome as possible in Carlisle and I feel we achieved that. They are welcome back any time and we will be working with Alla and others to develop the relationship further.”

Advertisement block

iFollow Next Match Tickets Account